Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hooker



"The hookers and swindlers enter [Heaven] before us because they know they cannot save themselves, they cannot make themselves presentable or lovely. They risked everything on Jesus, and knowing they didn't have it all together, were not too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace." - The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning



I've done nothing but eat Mexican food and pie for 48 straight hours yet all I can think about is Brennan Manning. His words are sliding some of my thoughts into place. They're fitting the lock.

For a very long time, I've tried to do this thing or that thing, all of the stuff that other, Godlier people seemed to be doing. I've been ashamed about the way I worship, regretful that I don't read my Bible enough, disappointed in myself that my prayers aren't quite right. I never fast. I watch rated-R movies.

The inner workings of my faith have been a secret I keep, but only because others might say it's wrong, or not enough.


The truth is, in the past two years I've felt more alive and far more sure of things. I've also struggled with unforgiveness for the very first time, said some cuss words, watched Dexter, and judged Dave Ramsey. I'm more aware than ever of my unholiness, yet my faith is somehow stronger.

How do I explain that to my old college professor, who claimed that days would go unmarked by the taint of his sin? What do I say to the woman who looks me straight in the eye and says that her love for God is so big that the sins of others make her weep?

In the past two years, I've also spent time with the so-called hookers and swindlers. I've fallen in love with them, and only partly because they hold a mirror up to my buttoned-up, hidden-away cheating, lying, grimed-up heart.

There's much to be said for closing in on the sorry state of my personal affairs. Looking myself square in the mug has made Christ irresistible, His promises mandatory.

I know that God calls each one of us into a gutter, where we're sure to find people desperate in a way we hope to never be. I'm learning that the gutter is not where we go out of obligation or even sympathy.

Compassion draws us there. Love causes us to memorize the route. But the reason we go, the true reason we're called, is because it turns the wheel that turns the wheel that launches us headlong into His flaming compassion and his furious, relentless love for me.

We look past our silly sprucing up and all of our check-marked tasks and lock eyes with the brown-eyed hooker in the mirror with the flat hair and the age spots. Right then is when we know for sure that we're destitute. We're not even good enough for the welfare cheese.

Our need is massive and every split second of His provision is a gift. It's grace.

So we take it. Finally, we take it.