Our friend Allan
Had one of those morning runs today that was more walk than run. Left knee wasn't happy; lungs voiced their concerns; mind versus body all the way around. So I thought and I prayed my way through it. Something about taking thoughts captive and all that.
On the homeward stretch I saw my friend Allan up ahead.
Allan's still grieving the loss of his grandfather, and as I saw him my heart cried out to God to comfort him.
I lost sight of him for a moment behind a building but when I drew alongside a local restaurant, "Say Cake", that serves breakfast and lunch along with what you'd think they served, there was Allan inside. He was talking to someone and gesturing about where to sit, or that's what it seemed to me. A young man walked from behind him and pausing slightly, put a hand on Allan's shoulder. The look on his face told me that God had answered my prayer for Allan.
That's my God.
I've been here twelve years now. Preached a gazillion sermons, taught through most of the Bible. Prayed over and over than God would use my feeble efforts to let others know they are loved. That God is incredibly resourceful and relentless in that love. That He'll take every opportunity - even create them if there's need - to whisper in your joys and shout into your pain (to paraphrase CS Lewis) - to let you know - YOU ARE LOVED.
But there are some people whose perception of themselves and/or the world around them just won't let them see that. And it breaks my heart.
Brennan Manning wrote this in his amazingly grace filled book "The Ragamuffin Gospel" -
"And Grace calls out, 'You are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted.' Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted."
— Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out)
In every way you can think of and more, you are accepted for who you are. You are loved. Open your ears, your eyes, your heart to the One who gave everything to show you how much.