If you haven’t already, I’d suggest starting at Reflections on “Love Does” by Bob Goff (Part One) and working your way up to here. Not really necessary though.
Bigger and Better
I used to think I needed to sacrifice for God, but now I know faith is like a game of Bigger and Better.
Bigger and Better is this amazing game where you start with something really small (like a dime or a rubber band) and you keep trading it with people and you end up with something bigger and/or better than you started with. Instead of seeing endless sacrifice and suffering, oftentimes God is offering something more amazing than we could come up with ourselves. Bob references a CS Lewis quote, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (90) For me, I oftentimes feel like God has asked me to sacrifice so much when, in fact, he’s been taking my false idols and giving me Himself, giving me Love, giving me Truth, giving me Relationship. I cling to my heart of stone as God offers me a heart of flesh. I cling to a job that pays a lot of money when God offers me a job that brings joy, freedom and the ability to transform lives in the city I love. I cling to a dead relationship when God offers me healing and sanctification. Bigger and better is the name of my Abba’s game. I need to respond with joy when he asks me to lay something down so I can pick-up what He has for me.
I used to think I had missed the mark and God was mad about it, but now I know “missing the mark” is a stupid analogy.
I’m going to skip the story here and get to the point. A lot of people take religion and focus on how we fail God, the ways that we “miss the mark” and fall short. But most people aren’t doing this out of ill-will or malicious intent. “The people I know, they are mostly aiming their crosshairs at stuff like being loved, not being lonely, finding some security, and a bunch of other things that are actually pretty normal and worth pursuing. In fact, I think God put it in our hearts to aim for those things…” (107-108) But God also created us in such a way that we start out life helpless and… kind of dumb. We have to learn everything, and part of learning is failing. It’s getting hurt. It’s understanding the bad so we can better appreciate the good. It’s how we learn discernment and gain wisdom. “These days the view of God I hold on to isn’t Him being mad because I missed the mark. It’s the one of Him seen through a bloody eye, scooping me into His arms, getting blood all over His shirt, and carrying me away to get healed.” (108)