What is there to say on this day?
That the Lord is risen? He is risen indeed.
I feel it pressing in on me today, the weight of it pushing on every square inch of the skin of my soul: an awareness of the kindness of the Lord to me.
And I could fill your Instagram feed with pictures of His kindness: of the faces of faithfulness and the bountiful gifts, but it is not of these things that I speak. I speak of the pain, of the mistakes, of the failure, of the darkness. How kind He has been to me through these things.
I will not call bad things good: not brokeness; not failure. But I will tell you that God is good and He isn’t kidding when He says He is most clearly seen in the darkness and that He is near to the broken.
The truth is, not everyone who loves God is given the gifts I have received. Many have received different grace. Many lovers of Jesus, will wake today on Easter and feel that it is just the same as any day. They will have to work to let the good news of the Gospel fall from their heads to their hearts. It will take time and patience and intentionality.They will have to fight to remember their first love, the quickening of their pulse and the way grace once shoved its way into their souls and poured out through their eyes in tears of gratitude.
I will not have to work at that today.
I have received a unique and precious gift: every time I think of this Gospel it crushes me with its glorious weight. This is the unique kindness of God to me – I have yet to get used to this Gospel. I have yet to lift my hands in worship and not feel it’s fullness. I have yet to open the pages of the Bible and hear the promise of grace and nearness and not be overwhelmed by His words.
We are all sinners. We are all broken. But those of us whose brokeness plays out in visible and socially unacceptable ways cannot be satisfied with a Gospel that saves our souls. We need one that saves us here and now, from the looks, from the judgement, from the shame, from the rejection.
We all suffer. We all have pain. But those of us who have faced suffering that has stopped our lives dead in their tracks, rendered us pitiable in others’ eyes, that has shipwrecked our dreams and plans, cannot be satisfied with a promise that God is near. We will wrestle and cling and not let go until He shows up in a tangible way and teaches our lungs to breathe in and out even when they would rather collapse.
God is kind to us all in different ways.
Today I feel the full glory of His kindness to me in His willingness to let His divine patience win out over the instinct to give momentary mercy, in order to pave the way for a greater mercy to be revealed. Although the pain of these moments was unbearable for us both, He resisted the urge to step in and pull me back from the edge of the cliff, because He had something to show me on the other side.
My time-hop reminded me the other day that in a foolish season, when I was younger than I knew, I prayed for suffering. I was wise enough to believe the principle that suffering produces the things I desired most and naive enough to never have imagined the road ahead. And that combination – a spiritual gift of knowledge mixed with an arrogant misestimation of my own strength – lead me to my knees and utter a foolishly wise prayer.
I like to imagine that as that prayer rose to His ears it was with a great sense of gravity and sorrow that He decided to answer it, knowing the cost – for me, for others, for Jesus. And I like to imagine that He did so because He knew – with a grave understanding and confident hope – that there was no other way to get me where He wanted me to go – where I wanted to go. Which was here. To being a woman humbled by the weight of love that wraps around her and pushes in so consistently and constantly; still surprised by how real Jesus feels and how true it is that He is her best friend and deepest love.
I wouldn’t wish my road on my worst enemy. It would be dishonoring to God to do so. It would be wrong to want failure and broken-ness for others. But, oh, how I would wish for everyone that they could have the God who is near to those who walk roads like mine.
You, who are in the broken places, know this: along the road you walk a great gift is waiting to be found. Today is a day for those who have failed the world as much as the world has failed them.