But I CAN upset most of the people some of the time!
This is funny. I see it with the kids... I can make one or two of them happy,but never all three at the same time. Whether it is picking a reading book, or a day in town, or arbitrating a disagreement... someone doesn't get what they want. It is there with my schedule. I can work, I can volunteer at the church, or get my schoolwork done, or be team mom, or keep my house clean, or walk my dogs... but never all at the same time. And very rarely on the same day. I can read, or try to write, or quilt ... and if I just had 12 hours a day to myself, I could keep me happy and do all three!
I have this running list in my head of all of the things I should do to keep people happy, to keep me happy, to be the perfectly wonderful person I want to be. Sometimes, I even keep a list of things that the boys should do. Because they need to be perfect too.
I am sooo glad that God isn't waiting around for me to be perfect.
Romans 5: 1- 8
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This one is so hard, because I struggle with feeling worthy. I feel every shortcoming like it is the end of the world. I expect me to be perfect, so why wouldn't a Holy God? But on the other hand, I get it, because no matter what my kids do, I love them fiercely. Really, when they are struggling, I kind of love them harder, not more, but closer to my surface, more fiercely on my mind.
We are justified through faith! We aren't justified by our own righteousness, or our perfection, or by what a great grip we have on the whole "Christianese" thing... we are justified by faith. Faith is my all access pass to grace ... and grace lets me grow and fall and get back up and not walk around in fear of being zapped by holy fire while I am still working out my walk. Grace lets me live my beliefs and not have to hide away, afraid of making a mistake. Grace lets me walk into a group of believers and say "I am thinking this, and wrestling with interpretation of that" and let myself be corrected where I am wrong.
Grace is also what ensures that I am in for the hard work, and not just resting on my (very few and verrrrry smalllllll) laurels. Grace is the ladder that beckons me on from where I am suffering (the things that are uncomfortable or where I am incomplete in my walk) into perseverance. And grace makes sure that I am not just basking in the martyrdom glory of perseverance. Grace keeps me walking from martyrdom to character. And lest I get too comfortable in the praise of my character, it moves me right on up into Hope.
The world we live in celebrates suffering, perseverance and character ... and not because of the journey to godliness. You KNOW we do this. We tsk and care and pick up a cause and love to commiserate on how HARD things are for folks, how MUCH they go through, we can't imagine ... We love a good suffering.
But that is *nothing* compared to how much we love a perseverer .. Oh
... life is hard ... but I do what I can ... one step at a time ...just
gotta keep going ... **sigh**. We coo and oooh and ahhh and sympathize
and glorify martyrdom ... and when it is our turn, we eat it up. With
whipped cream and sprinkles.
And character? Who hasn't heard how MUCH someone has been through, and how (fill in the blank) they are now? How strong, or kind, or cheerful or whatever they are, despite what they went through (did you hear? can I tell you? can you believe?) ...
The problem with this is that it is all glorifying the person, not the God taking them through that. But Hope? Hope is scoffed, scorned and mocked. People who have hope, who are counting on hope, who are desperate in their hope are obviously delusional. They need a reality check! Put on your big girl pants and make something happen, right? God, in His goodness, takes me past the pitfalls where I might be taking the glory, and gives me something more. Hope.
And, although the world doesn't understand, can't understand WON'T understand, I won't be disappointed by hope. Because God's love is poured, lavishly, into my heart by the Holy Spirit. Because no matter what else I might face, whatever the suffering I was experiencing, regardless... when I was weakest, when I had the least to offer, while I was actively flaunting His law, breaking His heart and rebelling in sin - He died for me. He gave His very life, His all, for me. He gave up His life to save mine.
So I can move up the grace ladder, out of my suffering, through my endurance, building my character and soaking in hope, because when I deserved it least, He gave me most.
I don't have to walk in the knowledge of all of the ways I fall short. I have been given forgiveness of my sin and eternal life while I didn't even know I needed it. So I can give myself a little leeway and allow myself to learn as I go.
I can't please everyone all
the time. I am human and I fail. But even so, God loves me all the
time, every time, for all time.