Throughout my life I’ve often found that I associate myself with the lowly characters Jesus chose as disciples and often think of Paul’s words when I find myself acting in a way that I wish I wouldn’t act. And then I realize perhaps this is the very reason that Jesus chose these men. The last few years I have found my self a prodigal son or if not a prodigal at least a person struggling to regain a foothold of truth, purity and faith. Maybe you’re like me, a person who hasn’t it all together and hastens to cling to what you’ve known because of your wounds.
My experience in being the prodigal son had covered a span of time in my life; finding that the beliefs I grew up in left little room for loving others and left me struggling to reconcile true faith. As my parents left the Church, as a young adult, I found myself dealing with the harder issues of life and forming a false sense of truth. My actions all too often not representing the beauty and truth of who Jesus is.
Although I’d been burned up and burned out and found myself fighting my way back from the dead and although I was still in a place of the wounded, a soldier at war, the last few years have been a testament to my strength and God’s grace and provision. You see it was only a few years ago that I had lost everything I’d ever worked for, my savings, my house, a promising career, friends and a relationship.
At one point I found myself destitute, impoverished, hungry and alone. Much like Jesus, I found myself homeless without a place to lay my head. And although many people in my life had witnessed these occurrences, few knew the depth of my pain. This was a storm I would have to weather alone, a storm where Jesus would be my only friend. And like the aftermath of many storms of life I was left to wonder at what had just happened.
One night alone in my apartment I watched an interview on CNN with author Ishmael Beah about his book A Long Way Gone. He said in the interview “it was never beyond anyone’s ability to lose their humanity” if they where led into the wrong places, meaning that we are all subject to doing things we would not usually do, becoming people we wouldn’t normally become, that we we’re capable of being inhumane under some of life’s toughest circumstances.
And I wondered at the depth of his statement because I understood what he meant by this. I could see how life has the ability to change us all. That I had become a person I did not recognize. Looking back over the last few years and into my character today I find that I had been lacking. And even though I was still licking my tattered wounds and even though I could associate with Job and Jebez from the Bible, it was no excuse to be living contrary to my beliefs. I think all too often we have a difficult time in bringing our burdens to the Cross.
So many times we here that war changes a person, that soldiers become shell-shocked and can no longer cope within society. But we rarely take notice that we are at war as well. That the ghosts on the streets today, walk through Jackson Square looking for rest.
And much like the war torn, I too had been changed. I found myself getting angry and frustrated, quicker to judge in efforts of protecting my self. That sadness replaced joy and fear replaced hope. My wounds were worn like my heart on my sleeve.
But lately God has been pulling at my heart and I have been taking notice of my deplorable state. How it saddens and makes other uncomfortable. Yet I scream, can’t you see I am wounded? I see now that the world is full of the wounded, that I am not alone.
I once read that most of us believe in God’s grace–in theory. But somehow we can’t seem to apply this to our daily lives. And we continue to see Him as a small-minded bookkeeper, tallying our successes and failures on a scorecard.
God gives us His grace, willingly, no matter what we’ve done. We come to Him as ragamuffins–dirty, bedraggled and beat up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen object of His furious love.
I wonder at the beauty of this and think, this is good news!