The gospel of justifying faith means that while Christians are, in themselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, they are accepted and righteous. So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time. This creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. It means that the more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God’s grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of your sin.
It’s weird to go back and see what God was doing in our lives a year ago. To see the questions I was wrestling with. Go back and look. Look how many of those things He’s ironed out.
It’s been a good year since the ultimatum exactly a year ago today. A very, very good year.
Maybe it’s because it’s all in the same month, but I can’t help but compare the grief and mourning over losing Elise to this latest, now-one-year-old loss. The comparison is revealing, and it helps me understand and express what needles me about the way conservative Evangelicals at large talk about ourselves, our trials, our humanity, and our God.
“They” say that losing a child is so hard because our culture lacks the words to express the grief. When you lose a parent, you’re an orphan. When you lose a spouse, you’re a widow(er). But there is no word to describe you when you lose a child. The tragedy is that unthinkable.
I’ll say it again — we as (former) fundamentalists don’t have a way to talk about leaving. We’re told to simply shut up. “Get over it. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway! You’re gonna get bitter if you keep talking about it.” It’s another kind of denial of the problem. And if you deny the problem–the sadness, the loss–exists, it simply stalls your healing.
I firmly believe that the Spirit is working here in Greenville. I can feel it. I told a friend awhile back that it feels like pre-term labor around here. That the contractions get closer and closer and closer, but . . . they . . . stop. Practice labor. Getting the Body ready for something, but we just don’t know what yet.
But it’s coming.