Monday, February 18, 2008

The last resort.

The last resort.

I was recently not invited to a special event. This is different from being uninvited which is what happens when you mess up between receiving the invite and when the event actually takes place. But it still didn’t feel all that good.

I mean honestly, I didn’t really have any business attending this event. I was not expecting to be invited and didn’t know it was even happening. But when I heard that I was not on the invite list I was a little disappointed. I want to be included. I want to feel like I’m on the inside of the circle. More than that, I want to feel like I’m one of the first people invited.

I want to feel important and necessary for good times. And when people don’t invite me or invite me as a final option, a last resort so to speak, I feel like a loser. Fortunately, I am not God.

You see, the truth of it is, I came back to God as a last resort. I wish that one day while things were going along well I thought to myself, “Things are good, but I dare say they could be better.” That maybe I hadn’t thrown hand grenades into my life until there were but a handful of breaths left. But I did.

I messed it up. I tried everything under the sun to create some semblance of happiness but nothing worked. Corporate success did not make me happy. Money did not work. Sex failed. Admiration and approval from peers was paper thin at best. Drugs were useless. And at the end of all that, at the end of chasing everything, that’s when I knocked on God’s door.

And he was cool with that.

Have you ever worried that God gets insulted when he’s your last resort? That he’s mad you tried so many different things first? That if you just sort of chilled for a while, enough time would pass since your last attempt at self happiness and God would overlook that you had well, overlooked him for a while? Do you ever think God gets upset for being uninvited for so long?

I used to think that, until I read John 6. In that chapter, Jesus drops some science on people, really getting into the whole idea about needing to eat his flesh and drink his blood. As you can imagine, people freaked out when he said those things. Let’s pick up the story in 66:

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

I like that section because Simon Peter’s answer has two parts. In the second part he tells Christ that they believe he’s the Holy One of God. And that’s nice, we expect disciples to say things like that. But in the first part he essentially says, “Where else could we go?”

There’s an unspoken sense of trying expressed in that. It’s easy to imagine that Simon Peter was speaking from experience. Like maybe he’d already tried to make himself complete and realized he couldn’t. Why else say that sentence?

If you said to someone, “Are you sure you want me to be your best man?” And they replied, “Who else could I ask?” You’d be mad. You’d be frustrated because they were telling you that you were the number one option because there were no other options. You won the gold medal because you were the only one that was in the race at this point. You’d be hurt.

But God’s not. Do you know what God does when you’ve tried everything else and finally come to him? He celebrates. In Luke 15 we’re told they throw a big party in heaven when someone comes to the father. He doesn’t care that it took you some form of yoga, or a failed business that wouldn’t validate your worth or a marriage that didn’t complete you or millions of dollars of success that was still a little bit empty for you to get to him.

He’s just happy you’re there. First or last, his reaction is the same.

p.s. Check out "the backwards belief" on 97secondswithGod.com.

2 comments:

Emma Sometimes said...

still lurking in comments....good stuff today.

Aaron said...

excellent.