jueves, 15 de marzo de 2012


My friend Brian, whom I met on my trip to Philly last year, told me to let him know when I was done reading "Disappointment with God", a really good book by Phillip Yancey. Being that he's one of the 6 or 7 readers of this blog, hehe, I feel compelled to let him know that I finished the book last week. In between getting that done, I had begun reading a bunch of other books, so it took me longer than I expected. My pillow is probably still wet from all that crying on those last few pages. The book is absolutely beautiful.

But to be honest, I've long since given up on those big questions that used distance myself from faith. Why does God allow suffering in the world? Where is he when there's pain? Either I'm at peace with the answers I have for now, or maybe I'm just tired of not finding an answer for them, but either way, those things don't bug me as much lately. Nowadays, I'm not so much disappointed in God as I am in myself. That's a whole new set of impossible questions...

"Why do I constantly make the same mistakes?", "How come I end up hurting the people I love?", "Why are we so broken?"...

It's hard to find answers, or find peace with these ones.

It's like this watch I just bought. I've been wanting it forever. I looked at different watches but always ended up falling in love with this one. It's simple, it has a tree (I'm obsessed with trees), it's made of recycled, eco-friendly materials. What's not to love?

I got it two weeks ago. It also broke two weeks ago. Today I finally got the replacement pieces, and not only were they the wrong color, but I broke another piece while trying to fix it. Sigh. Needless to say, I dropped the project and will retry it tomorrow, with more hours of sleep in my system and more coffee and patience and all those things you need to fix small things that are easily broken.

Looks a lot like my life. Trying to fix things that are easily broken. Trying to glue back together pieces, only to find they keep breaking into new fragments. This isn't what I had in mind when my teenager self mindlessly (ignorantly?) prayed for God to 'break me' and 'mold me'. This sort of brokenness is hard. Makes me want to give up and retry tomorrow, or some other time, or some other year.

Confronting myself with the ghosts of my past. Seeing my mistakes for what they are. Not shielding myself in self-pity or ignorance. Knowing that I constantly fail. Honesty. Repentance. Brokenness.

Gives a whole new meaning to grace, huh? The chance to start all over again.

Makes you want to cling with your nails and your teeth to the hope of a second (or a third, or a fourth) chance. Makes you want to risk anything for a new opportunity, a new life. Makes you desperate to believe that all that has ever happened in your life can be used for good, can mean something, can become beautiful. Grace.

Quoting from this really amazing book I've been reading by Phillip Yancey, " When time came to see myself for what I really was... I clung like a drowning man to the promise of grace for people who deserve the opposite. People like me.".

I'm so glad (relieved! thankful! happy!) I've come to know this grace, to experience it in my life. It's the one thing that makes me not go insane thinking about the past, about the "What ifs?". It's the one thing that holds me together in days like today. It makes me smile. Knowing it, savoring it almost makes everything else, all of my past, all the hopelessness and the messiness, worthwhile.

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost
But now I'm found
Was blind but now I see.

So glad to have been half of this healing, powerful, soul-cleansing embrace. Believe me, on the other side of the picture, my face was the same as this friend of mine's. That's grace.

P.S. Love this song about grace. The video is super crappy, and doesn't do the song justice, but I wanted to share it as well.

1 comentario:

  1. I loved this entry.

    There are two things that I believe from experience and I'd love to share those with you:

    1) There are no questions that can distance you from faith. When you anchor faith to knowledge, your faith becomes indestructible. It won't be sufficient when someone tells you the opposite of what you believe - because you'll KNOW it to be true. It won't be some belief that you take on "faith." Blind faith is NOT Biblical. Plato said it best: "Knowledge is more than belief in the right thing." You see, faith comes from knowledge. Knowledge comes from answers. Answers come from questions and questions come from doubt. So, the best thing you can do for your faith is ASK, because there ARE answers. Jesus said so Himself (Matthew 7:7)! :-)

    2) There's a common misconception about the Gospel that Jesus lived and the "gospel" we want for ourselves. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God wants us to be happy. Nowhere. The life that Jesus lived - which is one we're to imitate (1 John 2:6) - was a life of negation and sacrifice, not self-accomplishment and personal aspirations. Ironically enough, it's when we deny ourselves for others that we find meaning and purpose to our living (you mentioned this in a later post.) That's the beautiful paradox of Christianity: you find love by giving it away, you find joy when you find it for others, you find yourself when you live for Him.

    As the church has been over-secularized, we've lost this amazing focus on the true meaning of Gospel and, in turn, lost sight of ourselves in the process of looking out for ourselves. This is not what family is, this is not a body. This is not Christianity.

    As the band Relient K mentioned: "The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair." Like you Yancey said, we deserve the opposite of Grace. But we've been given grace to live out Jesus in our lives in all His humble, sacrificial glory.

    Again, wonderful entry!

    God Bless and I look forward to communicating with you :-)