This “Guest Post Wednesday” comes to you from my dear, dear friend Carrie Anderson. You can read more about our story here. Carrie has been a sounding board of ideas, questions and doubts for me while I was preparing for Uganda, and while in Uganda. She is in the group of people that I blame for being here – because without her faith in me, I would not have taken this baby step of faith.
“God help me to be 100% truth and 100% love.”
this is what i started asking consistently for the past 2 years in response to the somewhat blunt & direct (read: not sensitive) advice i tend to give my friends, some of whom may be in the midst of a difficult time.
It should stop surprising me that God rarely answers prayers the way i think he should. i guess i just assumed i would wake up one day and just be full of love and sympathy for someone who’s going through a trial. but would I actually learn that way? nah, my preacher says we rarely learn anything from the wrinkle free days.
i do have a great model for this fullness of (not balance between) grace and truth. Jesus forgives, does not condemn, while at the same time holds us accountable and does it in such a way that we know he loves us. he is grace and truth at the same time. and i’m supposed to be following him and modeling this for others. because if the church is his body then the best expression of Jesus that anyone may ever know could be me, could be the church. that’s scary and beautiful to be used like that.
but i wasn’t fit for use yet. so you know what God did? he gave me a trial, a struggle. it was awesome and terrible and i hated every minute of it.
what i do know is that it’s not God’s nature to just be mean. i started looking for reasons why i would be given this period of time (that’s key – to understand there is a reason why). and one morning as i prayed and got to the 100% love 100% truth part, I came to the realization that I need to approach giving advice completely differently. in the midst of a trial, my friend just wants to talk about it, just like i did. she just wants me to tell her i’m sorry and be there for her, just like i wanted. she doesn’t want my truth (yet), she wants my love, my grace. for real, God? this is how you are going to help me be more loving? of course it is. he put me in right in the middle of what someone else might be going through so i could know what it was like. i learned; not from any wrinkle free days, but I did learn.
God will definitely answer your prayers if they line up with his will. just don’t be surprised at the way he chooses to bring you around to understanding. and like me, you may even look back and be grateful for that experience because you see how it prepares and equips you to be grace and truth to those who need it.
Gosh, I love her reminding us of the tension between grace and truth. Our pastor, Andy Stanley, did a series called “Christian” last year, and one of the parts in the series was on this idea of “grace and truth”. You can check out the sermon here: When Gracie Met Truthie. Also, if you’re in the Atlanta area and are in the need of a photographer, for anything, you should check out Carrie’s blog: www.carrieandersonphoto.com. She certainly has a gift and a passion as seen in her photos.
Have something to say and want to be included in my “guest post wednesdays” – let me know!