Saturday, January 19, 2008

Stubborn Grace

Click here to download the song that this post is about, courtesy of Andrew Osenga... if you like it, buy his music at AndrewOsenga.com or iTunes

“Oh we of little faith,

oh You of stubborn grace”

The song “We Are The Beggars At The Foot Of God’s Door” by The Normals has been on constant rotation on my iPod this last week, at first simply because of the above stated line. The album Coming to Life by The Normals was one of my favorite albums yet for some reason I never noticed this line, or this line never hit me like it has this past week. The song title is a statement in itself but “we of little faith, oh You of stubborn grace” has been stuck in my mind.

Perhaps it is because the truth of that lyric is becoming more apparent in my life. Here in Rome, where I am supposed to be the missionary working for Agape Italia, the “professional Christian” if you will, I am learning just how much I truly am the one with little faith. A quote I read in “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard says that, “We always live up to our beliefs – or down to them,as the case may be. Nothing else is possible.” How that is true in my life!

This past Thursday, I was on campus, supposed to be initiating conversation with students, and showcased a prime example of my little faith. One guy in particular had caught my eye, and I felt that tug to go talk to him. And so I began to walk in his direction… and walked right past him and around the corner. Ah, I was frustrated with myself and said, “I will not give up, God, I believe you can give me the right words to say as I talk to this guy.” So I turned around and walked back… and right past him again. And a third time. And a fourth. It was a good thing it was in a busy time in the day or he may have wondered, “Why the heck does this kid keep walking past me? Is he lost?” I walked away in failure, wallowing in my self-pity and rationalizing it away by saying, “I am just going to read my Bible for a half hour then talk to others.” And I never did talk to that kid on Thursday.

Which brings me to the “oh You of stubborn grace.” Stubborn grace, how I love that concept. How I have experienced it, constantly experience it every day. Friday, after a day that should have got me fired from my job as “professional Christian,” I was out striking up conversations with my teammate Kanda. We were at the Law Building looking for people to talk to and I noticed a guy sitting alone on a bench, so we went up to talk to him. Only when I said “Ciao” and he looked up did I notice that he was the same guy as the day before.

Stubborn grace. God constantly gives second chances, third chances. Though we give up on ourselves, that stubborn grace is hounding us, drawing us closer to Jesus, meeting us where we are at. We are the disciples who fled, the Israelites that ran to the golden calf, the Peter that can’t bring himself to tell Christ “I agape you.” And Christ meets us where we are at, is the one who loves us too much to let us remain the same. He is the one who gives us the chance to live in the reality of his redemption.

The last verse of the song says:

We have known the pain of loving in a dying world
And our lies have made us angry at the truth
But Cinderellas slipper fits us perfectly
And somehow were made royalty with You,
Oh we of little faith,
Oh You of stubborn grace
We are the beggars at the foot of Gods door
And You have welcomed us in

Amen

2 comments:

Kevin said...

Now that my friend is how you write a blog. You wrapped in your life journey, your opinion, God's message, a cultural symbol....man you do what I only dream of doing!

It sounds like things are going well over there. Feel free to give my podcast a listen sometime -

http://web.mac.com/kkrease/Site/Kevin.Krease/Kevin.Krease.html

Subscribe to it and it will automatically download in iTunes. Mine doesn't have as much of a message, more just a sharing of some funny stories.

Keep the faith brother!

k.k

greg said...

Chris,

I've been thinking about you a lot lately. Actually walked into Davinci's and thought, "boy would it be great to chat for an hour or so with Chris Rule."

I have found in my own feeble walk with Jesus that the moments my life counts the most for Christ are those simple moments when I don't "walk by," but where I actually obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Those are the moments I find myself thinking, "Holy crap! He's using me...He's USING me!" And I realize that my influence for the Kingdom has so little to do with how cool or suave or biblically literate I am--and so much to do with the power of saying, "okay."

Christianity is cloaked in formulas and maxims and I think that what the Lord really wants us to do is obey his voice as he speaks uniquely to us.

I'm praying for a renewed sense of trusting HIM in those times when you don't trust yourself. For whatever it's worth, of the thousands of kids at UA, you were one who always stood out to me. I wonder about the guy you walked by. He very well may have been one of those people, like me, who say, "there's something special about this kid. I hope he says hi to me."

You're a good man, Chris Rule. You have much to offer as a servant of our King.

PS. Quit writing "at" at the end of your sentences. It's not a compromise in your walk, but the English teacher in me is cringing. lol