Everyday Grace

Searching for goodness in the ordinary

Day 20: The God Who Gets It // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness

Oct
20

photo: Mcredifine/Pixabay CC0

Hi there! This is day 20 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. 

Have you ever seen the show Undercover Boss? It’s fascinating. Here is the rundown, for those of you who have more of a life than I do and never watch TV: a CEO or other chief-executive-somebody from a company goes undercover as an employee, usually doing the most menial job available, in order to bear witness to the experiences of their underlings and hopefully understand them a little better. (It’s pretty awesome, but bring your tissues. You’ve been warned.)

The thing that is always interesting to me is how shocked the executives often are at the way their employees are treated and appreciated (or unappreciated), and what work they do on a daily basis. They are often extremely out of touch with the way their company is operating. Why does this switch-a-roo sort of premise work so well? I think it’s because it flips a dynamic on its head that is so prevalent in the world we live in.

The Jesus we serve did something so revolutionary, y’all. In our society, often the leaders with the most power are the ones furthest removed from the people. They have the biggest houses and the most money. They have security detail and private transportation that physically insulate them from those they serve, and they are often surrounded by advisers, staff, and luxuries that mentally and emotionally separate them from those they serve.

Jesus was not like this. He became completely one of us. Christ was literally born in a barn and lived modestly; the Scriptures say there was nothing about Him that was outwardly attractive or fancy. Jesus could have surrounded Himself with angels to protect His person at all times. He could have built Himself the nicest home in Galilee – He owns everything, after all. But He did not fly in on a private jet, roll in on the best chariot, or even ride in on the finest horse. He was born to us as a helpless baby. God took on a human body and with it, human childhood, with its scraped knees and chicken pox and playground bullying. He went through puberty and adolescence and felt the weirdness of His body changing and the sting of peer disapproval. Christ worked a blue collar job, probably watched His friends get married, and felt the loneliness of being without a partner Himself. He caught our colds and endured our headaches, and felt pain and loss when His loved ones died. Jesus did not separate Himself from His people, He dove headfirst into our life experiences by living them Himself. What a compassionate and wise leader. Jesus knew He had to become what He wanted to save.

If our Messiah had not become one of us, He could not serve us as well as He did and does. (Think of your representatives in government who don’t always seem to represent you or your community very well.) In contrast, Jesus has sat with you in silence and stood over you when you’ve been afraid. He has danced with you in your happiest moments, and cried with you in your most devastating ones. He has listened to your every word. He is as close as our very breath. I am so thankful we have a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, because He has felt them firsthand. Jesus became the ultimate undercover boss. (In fact, He should probably be getting royalties for giving them the idea for the show. Life’s so unfair, man.)

So today, if you are struggling, remind your heart: Jesus sees you. He sees and understands every inch of your pain. He gets why you react the way you do to certain words that sting more than they might for someone else because of your story. He has been there for every moment of your life and knows every detail of your context, and He has lived a life of His own, and understands human struggle and loss and hurt. There is still work to be done, but for now, rest in the knowledge that He sees you. You are understood. You are loved.

May we be people who, knowing how loved and seen we are, go out and spend that love on others. See others. Serve others. And may we serve not from our own cozy places of comfort, but arm in arm with the broken and needy. May we understand that in our brokenness, Jesus came to link arms with us, too. Let’s soak up that love and then give it away like we’re made of it. I believe in you.

-c

Day 19: He Delights in You // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness

Oct
19

photo: Matheus Bertelli

Hi there! This is day 19 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. 

I used to teach 7th grade, and I borrowed a lesson opener from the internet once that turned out to be one of my favorites. I brought in a brand new, fresh-from-the-ATM $20 bill and held it up in front of my students (for some reason, it wasn’t as difficult to get their attention that day). 26 pairs of eyes locked on the bill in my hands and 26 hands instantly shot into the air as I asked who wanted it. (more…)

Day 18: Nothing // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness

Oct
18

photo: Leah Kelley

Hi there! This is day 18 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. 

Today, I have a song for you. I want you to hear this story with your heart instead of your ears, as much as you can:

I want to talk about some different sorts of nothing that this song makes me think about. First: nothing, and I mean nothing, can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. If you think you have messed up so badly that you have wrecked His plans for you and your life, I have good news, friend: you are not that powerful. There is nothing you can do to screw up His love for you or your calling in Him. You can run – He will send armies of angels after you to help you find your way back. You can stop participating – He will wait patiently. Face it, God just adores you. I know, it’s crazy. Sometimes I fall asleep on the couch underneath a pile of warm laundry I’m supposed to be folding and wake up three hours later with one dried-out contact lens stuck to my face, and God still loves me. It’s probably the most unbelievable truth about life that I know. His love is big and wide and generous, okay? He loves us at our best and at our worst. (Bless.)  (more…)

Day 17: A New Story // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness

Oct
17

photo: Freestocks.org/CC0

Hi there! This is day 17 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. 

Growing up, I remember this girl in my class who was overweight and kind of awkward. She was frizzy-haired, had zero fashion sense, and was smart, but a bit of a know-it-all, which no one likes, so she didn’t have very many friends. Once, after a popular boy pretended to be interested in her as a joke and then went and laughed with his friends about how fat and ugly she was, she realized her body was apparently unacceptable to other people and Fat Girl became the story that she told herself, about herself, for the entirety of her childhood and adolescence. Anytime she had an odd social encounter or someone was less than nice to her, she chalked it up to her body shape instead of normal human awkwardness and imperfection. She became an expert at making herself smaller, hiding in clothes, sitting as close to the window as possible on public transit so she didn’t touch anyone, trying never to be too loud, too big, or draw too much attention, and always trying to squish herself down so as not to offend others by taking up too much space. It continued to define her well into her twenties, where she is still fighting it off daily, and I know this because she is me.

I think so many of us walk through life wearing our brokenness like a name tag. (more…)