As much as this blog is about our move and loving the stranger and how that will all take shape, it’s about something else, on a deeper level.
About two years ago or so, I began to pray a prayer that God would teach me the Gospel and make me passionate about it.
I was raised in a Christian home, went to private Christian school, was baptized at age 12 at the MacDaddy Baptist Church in the biggest bible belt city by the very senior pastor, and grew up with a father who was in ministry. So – there was a lot of Jesus in my home and in my life. For this, I am eternally grateful. Also, for this, I am terribly blinded. You see, I am an older brother. The worst kind, really…over educated, over memorized, over sheltered, and over wrought.
My heart is so hungry for the true Gospel. The real Jesus. It occurred to me only this morning that I have a vast place in my heart that knows how to receive love from people IF I EARN IT (and when that happens, I can gratefully and selfishly revel in the feelings of “payment for services rendered.”) But, the place in my heart that knows how to receive lavish love that’s just given (even…God forbid…before I earn it) is minuscule and locked up. It’s not that I don’t desperately want to understand grace or receive it as such, it’s just that the door to that part of my heart is perpetually rusty and squeaky and intractably difficult to open. Older brothers have small grace spaces.
Doug, my husband, says that my divorce is God’s greatest gift to me. Without that huge loss and failure, the grace space might be closed off altogether in this little put together life I lead. He’s right, of course.
I’d love to share along the way about how God opens up the grace space in me and allows me to see the Gospel as Jesus brought it.
Not the memorize five verses and earn a badge kind.
Not the wear a promise ring and sign a pledge kind.
Not the hang out with the Christians because the world is scary kind.
I heard Dr. Ken Boa speak last week. He talked about how Satan has never created anything new – all the evil in the world is the distortion of something good and true. Everything. Sometimes it feels like my whole understanding of Jesus and His Gospel has been an inverted or twisted kind of experience. Truth, but distorted so that it makes grace seem like an earning, too. Reality, but rotated so that it causes self-focus rather than God-worship.
God has begun to do some foundational work in my heart about His Gospel. I have so far to go. Perhaps you’ll want to journey with me in the prayer for true Gospel. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.