Thursday, February 10, 2005

Heaven goes wild

I opened the alumni section of a Christian university magazine. My eye went right to it. An alumnus from the 70s shares an update on her life:

“Divorced after 31 years and filed for bankruptcy…”

Success is sweet. We share our advanced degrees and our promotions. We sometimes subtly announce our new addresses in the gated community. And we do rightly rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Hard work and dedication in our free economy often provide the diplomas, the positions, and the deeds of our dreams.

But for some, the certificates read painfully of divorce, death, and debt. Blame can go around and around, but we’ve been around long enough to know that every divorce, every bankruptcy, and many accumulations of debt accrue through the actions not of a duo, but of one. At the same time, some such debacles result from the collaborative effort of two or more weak, sinful people.

Who among us can’t say that we are not in one way or another bona fide, certified among the weak and the sinful?

Most of us keep the pain in marriage, the burden of debt, and the certainty of our failures our deep, dark secrets waiting for success before we share.

Wonder why?

It may have to do with our lack of compassion for the failing of others. When our judgment visits us, it’s a tough companion. Maybe we hear our friends mock the poor. Maybe our view of God is such that we believe he only blesses the successful. Maybe we buy into the media images of winners and losers. Americans gets such a kick out of watching someone else hear the words, “You’re fired.” We laugh at the weakest link.

Recently I read a story from Larry James’ Urban Daily blog. Reportedly, Rich Little, comedian, did an impersonation of Ronald Reagan at inaugural party,

"'You know, somebody asked me, 'Do you think the war on poverty is over?'
I said, 'Yes, the poor lost.'

The crowd went wild. "

The crowd went wild. When we are broken from life, at times the victims of the sin and failure of others, and more often the owners of our own sins and failures, we need to remember that at the point we turn to God in our brokenness, HEAVEN GOES WILD.

The alumnus, divorced and bankrupt, ends her update with a note of grace, “…in spite of a rough year, she is still praising God.”

2 Corinthians 12 from The Message
God told Paul, "My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes to you in weakness."

Luke 15 from The Message
Jesus assured his followers of heaven's joy.
"Count on it---there's more joy in heaven over one sinner's rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue."
"Count on it--that's the kind of celebration God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God."


Bev Blair said...

"The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."

Fajita said...

I like what you write. Thanks for note of compassion in a harsh, harsh, world.

Frank Bellizzi said...


What a gutsy entry: "divorced and bankrupt." I have to confess, when I look at those alumni updates, I go to the year I graduated not so much to find out who's doing what, but to see how far I've gone compared to the group I started with. And I do it thinking, "This is really dumb."

Anne-Geri' said...

I hate that we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we hide our pain until it all comes out in gushing glory, surprising the rest of the world. God help me if I ever keep my marriage completely to myself - know what I mean?

I have a lot of respect for the woman who is still praising God. What a testiment to HIS strength.