Didn’t you know this wasn’t a good idea, dear?

I love this boy. He is startled by the odd ways that life can sometimes play out. Parents and supervisors do not always dole out punishments when a kid makes mistakes. Even if that was what he fully expected to receive. Sometimes adults, quite surprisingly, can just listen to your story and actually appreciate it for what it is. They can even find the funny in them–perhaps even more than you can see.

That is Sal’s story. On the most exciting and terrifying day of his life, he got to regale his chaperones with his exploits in a most compelling manner. His voice was heard and, perhaps, by the end of his speech he felt vindicated.

His tale went something like this:

He and his friend were looking for something to do with their free time afrter dinner at the food court. Thanks to a moment of incredible inspiration, they decided to trot up the “down” escalator. It went smoothly and they felt like heros. They had singlehandedly saved themselves from boredom. But, as we all know, feats like these must come in pairs. So they bravely went on to execute their next move, forgetting about how the poor cane-bearing man had just missed meeting them painfully on their way up.

Their courage mounting with every escalator moving toward them, they took the plunge. Now was the time to really live dangerously! They reached the bottom without incident. Then our story teller happened to intercept the unfriendly gaze of a man with a badge. Suddenly it looked like their lives might be over if they didn’t move quickly. “Let’s walk,” he alerted his emboldened sidekick. “Now. That security guard is looking our way.”

Breaking into a fast trot and an equally fast sweat, they make their way into the nearest store. They couldn’t have chosen a more fitting locale for their dramatic (and soon to be comical) getaway. The patrol man is not fooled by these young males adopting a sudden interest in feminine frocks for the fashion forward.

While one is holding up an article whose print would work so well with the complexion of the other, they are accosted. “Gentlemen, can I ask you some questions?” The ordeal, with its confrontation of foolish behaviors and warnings to be careful of pedestrians, ends with our dear boys being ordered to exit the mall and wait for their more obedient comrades from the outside.

Heading in the direction of the doors, our boys wonder whether their ignorance of mall security protocol puts them at the risk of following an order that is illegitimate. After all, who has ever heard of being removed from a mall–isn’t it public property? In the final analysis the two decide the man in uniform had very little grounds on which to behave as though this were “his mall.”

It is in this state that these characters have their second run-in of the night, though this one is less official. The instigator of this one is a harmless older Asian woman who sweetly asks them to contribute to her youth group’s fundraiser. They are quite touched, feeling as though they have found someone with whom they can find common ground at such a volatile time.

They dig in the pockets of their basketball shorts and jeans. Together they assemble a modest sum that blesees both the woman they give to ans they themselves. They introduce themselves and inform her that they belong to a youth group and love Jesus. She is delighted at the news and they take a moment to pray for their groups in different states. They leave refreshed, exuberantly declaring that “God is awesome!”

Finally, they make it outside, convinced that this is the single most exhilerating day of their lives. It makes them wonder what more fun they could be having while they’re still outta state!

Needs that make me more firmly His

What does it really mean to represent God? I know that this is supposed to be our everyday occupation, but not every day looks the same. What about the days when I’m angry, when I feel ill-used, when I’m not confident that I can be a Good Godly Girl?

What about the moments when God feels far away and I feel too weak and full of sin to chase Him down?

What about the weeks when living for Him doesn’t feel worth it?

What about the instances when I’m not sure I can hold up God in my circumstances because I’m not sure that He’s able to hold me up in them for yet another day?

When my question-petitions are not answered with what I want to hear; when I don’t know how to go on living this way; how can I still be for Him?

When I don’t know what He’ll do next, how can He expect me to rationally say, “I will praise Him still”?

I am broken, and still He is real. He won’t back down. He moves in when I feel like it would be best to move away. He insists on open access to my heart when not even I want that. He knows with all the tenderness of a Father of heaven that I can not represent Him as I am. He cares that I don’t know where He is, and I wonder how He could let me hurt this much.

That’s why I’m in this mess. No, not so that He can punish me for failing to fulfill expectations too lofty for me to even see. My God is just not like that with His own.

Instead, like no other person I know, He is using His power to challenge and chasten me. His highest aim is to make me at home with Him in my heart so that He can make me that woman who represents Him.

Because He orchestrates my deliverance from more sin every day, my heart does not want for opportunities to see Him, reasons to praise Him. He will establish my glory in Himself as He resolutely dethrones my glory in myself. As the comfort I find in sin fades, so will my empty boasts. It is not wrong for Him to deride my sin and devastate my hopes in temporary heroes until there is no one left for me to witness to and bless than the One who ever is my Savior.