I recently read Brennan Manning’s memoir All is Grace
and it’s interesting, much to what I love about the guy, is his level of transparency. Transparency in his peaks, but much of it is spent in the valleys, a guy who is an alcoholic (though he no longer drinks it is still a part of him, he admits that) who right now is physically feeble and has someone who has to take care of his needs; from getting dressed, using the bathroom, etc. it’s nothing glamorous…
He’s quick to point out that when his mother passed away he started drinking and didn’t stop…and consequently passed out and missed his mother’s funeral. He talks about how he would have long binges of drinking, passing out and waking up in his own vomit.
At times I think Christianity gets sold as a “if you become a follower of Christ life all of life’s issues will melt away and you’ll be made whole” and yet, for some of us in our journey, this is far from the truth. It would be nice if this were so, but we who are followers of Christ have issues just like everyone else, to buy into prosperity gospel messages and Christianese that says “all will be fine, it gets better” can be more harmful than helpful.
Take for instance the song “it is well with my soul” by Horatio Spafford (find out more about him here). The guy loses 4 of his daughters in 1 shipwreck, he pens a beautiful song that many followers of Christ take as a coming to terms and surrender to God in difficult times…
But the guy later in his life suffers a mental breakdown, he even thinks of himself as a second Christ! He loses much that once defined him…how many of you knew that part of his story?
Sure some of us might be able to get back on track, and yes God’s the one helping us get there, but I see that our job is remaining faithful and trusting God in what he’s doing — we’re doing, despite of not seeing the road ahead. In my times of doubt and pain on my journey, I sometimes lose my sight of the path, but I keep walking in faith and not by (you guessed it) sight.
My walk with God isn’t so much about what comes my way, but about faith and having grace, for myself and everyone. One thing that Brennan Manning has said over the years that rings truer and truer in my life is that “God loves you [and us and me] as we are and not as we should be.”
If God were to love me when I finally got to where I need to be in my life…well, there wouldn’t be any love for me because I will never get to that point in my life. But because of Christ, and of God’s love for humanity (not just His followers, mind you) he has grace and the pools are lovely and deep and by no means are they running on empty.
I don’t always see it, I don’t always know it, but it is still there in times when I don’t get it at all. I guess that’s why I like serving God by serving others, because what God has helped me realize is to share the good news of His grace, and I do see reluctance in people, people who might consider themselves unworthy of his grace, and we are…but that’s what makes it relevant, that it is God bringing us forward and He’s the one who’s guiding us because of who He is and not who we are.
All is grace,