"I think all of this might be related to how we view the good and the bad in our lives. It’s like this weird deal we made with God – that if we agree to be good then God will agree to “not give us more than we can handle”, which is nonsense by the way – my husband the Texan says that verse really means that God will not give you more than Ya’ll can bear. You won’t be given more than a community can carry – anyhow - I wonder if maybe God doesn’t work in quite the same either/or way that we do.
Because I don’t think it was God who set up this weird quid pro quo – where in exchange for us being good God agrees to make sure our lives are never hard and we never suffer. I wonder if the basic premise we so often operate under is that if we are our best self, God can use us. And if we are our worst self then we are on our own and likewise, if our life is “good” it means God is pleased with us and if our life is hard then it means God doesn’t care. In other words the only thing of value is what can show up in our highlight reel.
And yet, the God revealed in Jesus does not seem to share that economy. I mean, he is just the weirdest combination of wastefully generous and creatively frugal. I mean, first of all, Jesus will accept anyone – that guy loves a sinner and will offer forgiveness and mercy to like, basically anyone. Just look around. He’s got no taste...
I don’t know why we have a God who has such bad taste as to use even the worst parts of us for the glory of God’s name. Or why this same God also grants us such love and joy in this life.
But this is what we have. We may wish to curate a version of ourselves that we feel is worthy to be shared but God says, yes, I’ll take those shiny good things but I’d also like to use whatever it is you’re hiding behind your back right now. See, we are an either/or people with a both/and God for whom nothing will be lost and all will be redeemed.
Nothing is wasted. The good is so good and the bad is so useful. And to the glory of God’s name it shall all be raised on the last day. Amen."