Thursday, July 13, 2006

the many faces of Jesus

I have been thinking a lot lately about what a faith with works looks like. I have contemplated the real meaning of God's love. I know that His love is almost foolish. It's the kind of love that gives even when He knows we are only using Him. His is the kind of love that does drastic things that we only mock or demean,"Oh! How sweet!" He asks us to love others in this same way. To be fools in love, and to love everyone.
I have been stricken with a new found fear that I have seen him naked on the side of the road, and said,"Go and be warmed" yet did nothing. I know I have seen him hungry and hurting and did nothing. In my piousness I could not give him a dollar when He asked. His many faces haunt me now as there is no going back.
While I was a freshman at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago I gave money to every homeless person who asked. Then as time went on I became more and more jaded, and felt that the most loving thing to do is to NOT give them money since I knew ALL of them were alcoholics and drug addicts...I lived in Chicago for a total of seven years. I walked past hundreds of people who asked me for money...I ignored them, justifying myself as I went that I really was loving them best by walking past...
Now their faces gnaw at my flesh. I am pained by my Pharisaical Christianity. I can not go back and fix it...I walked past Jesus hurting and desperate and NEVER helped. My self-righteousness helped no one, and hurt many, mostly my lover, Jesus. I now know that it is better to be thought a fool and love, than to be callous and self-protected. I pray that I could again be given the chance to love foolishly. I hope that this time, with God's help I will not fail.
I know that I will one day see the faces of all those I walked past. It will hurt and I will be deeply ashamed. I will see Jesus' eyes as his tears well up as He says,"Where were you when I was hungry?..." I know that His Grace will cover me...I hope His Grace will let me try again...

Monday, July 03, 2006


I've been thinking, is it real gratefulness to say,"Well, at least we're not as bad off as these people." One of Leif's nurses prompted this thought process by a comment during Leif's hospital stay. She was gently reminding us, as so many have, that he was not as bad off as some of the kids, but then she followed up by saying something about not wanting to use others misfortune to feel better about ours. I thought about that everyday as I wandered the halls of the children's hospital, so many disfigured and obviously sick children. So, is it true gratitude to God for me to say, "Ah well, at least Leif doesn't have a disease that will kill him. At least he doesn't have a painful and terminal illness." I wonder what it means to "give thanks" and have an attitude of gratitude in a situation like that? How do i "give thanks" that my son has a disease that demands major surgery? How does a woman who lost her little boy to a "genetic freak accident" give thanks? How does someone give thanks at the bedside of a 6 year old who is dying of leukemia? I praise God that Leif's condition will be manageable after his surgery and that he will not die from his disease. But what if he did have a terminal illness? How would I be grateful in that situation? I try as much as possible to grieve with parent's of children in worse situations, to grieve my own son's condition, and to praise God separate from worse situations...but it is very difficult to do.