Sunday, February 1, 2009

Costly Grace Demanding My All

For the past few weeks I almost feel God molding me. My heart is stirring, my mind whirring, and a slew of questions, prayers, and struggles I have posed over the past 10 years are beginning to fit together. I crave his Word yearning for more time. I do not necessarily have concrete answers to my questions, but he is graciously drawing me nearer to him.

God is speaking to me through so many touchpoints (to use an advertising term). The current sermon series on prayer, the Psalms, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship, my fiction reading, my community, even seeing my sweet small group girls embrace authenticity unabashedly.

Friday night I was having dinner with a friend and beforehand took some time to spend in the Word, specifically in Psalm 22; and I read about costly grace in Bonhoeffer. Through this time, I was struck, overwhelmed really by the costly grace of Christ.

Jesus lived a perfect human life. No flaws, no lies, no negative thoughts, no pride, no rebellion, no idols. Perfect life, perfect love. He was wholly human, yet wholly God. He died the most excruciating physical death. I have studied the physical aspect of his death and can somewhat grasp the unbelievable pain, yet I too easily gloss over the emotional and spiritual excruciation Jesus endured. He was all-knowing, he knew what his cup entailed, and he also knew he would rise from the dead. Even still, Jesus agonized to the point of sweating blood. He asked God to take his cup, though he knew it was the only way.

As prophesied in Psalm 22, Jesus cried out from the cross "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Though I've read these words countless times Friday night I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of Jesus' cry. He was separated from God, his Father who earlier said "this is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." God forsaked him as he took on every single solitary one of our sins. I will never ever understand even a sliver of this excruciating pain that Jesus bore for me. For you. Never. I deserve death, but perfect, holy, sinless Jesus who knew he would be redeemed, knew he would rise for us, agonized deeply, was wholly separated from his Father so that we may be restored and never be separated.

Why then, do I flippantly pray, desire the easy road, demand answers on my terms, fear, not trust? This grace is costly. Demanding my all, my dreams, desires, behaviors, possessions, everything.

Later when eating dinner with my friend, I realized I still had a hidden sin struggle. Overwhelmed, I shared and have since started sharing with my community, knowing only when I am a complete open book will God have my whole self. It's a life-long road, full of traffic jams and wide open spaces. I am thrilled to spend it growing closer to my God, who loves me more than my finite mind can and will ever understand.

Precious Lord. Thank you for loving us where we are now. Not where we've been or what we'll become.