As I came out of my class at the Y the other day, I saw what looked like a large coin hit the ground. I asked the lady walking toward me if it had fallen out of her bag. She said, “No” and kept walking so I stooped to pick it up and saw it inscribed with “Wifey.” That seemd like an odd word to carry around, plus it was kind of beat up so I tossed in the trash can on the way to the water fountain.
But as I was filling my water bottle, I thought to myself that I should have turned it over to the front desk not thrown it away. Before I could go retrieve though, I heard a lady ask the front desk worker if a coin had been turned in.
My ears perked up, and my heart beat faster. It was the same lady’s voice who said it wasn’t hers. Yikes, it was afterall! Not wanting her to see me I snuck around the wall out of sight, but within ear shot. Once I knew she had headed back down the hall to class, I went back to the trash can. My plan was to grab it out and turn it in thinking she woud stop back by after class to see if it had been turned in. But the coin was gone. (Don’t worry the trash can was mostly empty minus a gum wrapper and plastic lid resting atop a discarded flyer so I didn’t have to dig deep!)
I assume the woman got it from the trash can herself, but I I felt awful for deeming it worthless and then hiding instead of running to tell her where it was! Who does that?
I’ll tell you. All of us, starting in the Garden when Adam and Eve hid from God after eating the forbidden fruit. This is when God came calling after them, “Where are you?” But clearly he’s God, he knew where they were, and what they had done. What he was really asking was, “Why are you hiding?”
Like Adam and Eve and all of humanity since, we have hidden in shame, trying to cover our sin and pridefully – rebelliously – acting as if we are innocent. Today we do this by wearing the mask of perfection to appear as we have it all together. We do this by covering up with the “fig leaf” of performance so no one will suspect we aren’t as “good” as our behavior begs them to think. And, by living out of our own strength, we deny our weaknesses, suppress our sin, and fail to see how needy we really are.
But not living weak and needy is to live not needing Jesus. Because who needs Jesus if you are strong and perfect on your own?
Lately, God has been showing me weakness is actually strength! What’s funny is I’m reading for the 4th time Barbara Duguid’s book Extravagant Grace with the subtitle: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness, but I’m hearing in a new way Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
That means I can be honest about my sin, without fear. I don’t have to hide – behind a wall, my “good” behavior or pride. I can go freely – not shamefully – to God with all of my sin, and in all of my need for the only suitable covering there is – his righteousness.
Do you know Grace like this? Do you give it to yourself? Do you extend it to others? If you don’t, I hope you will begin seeing the key to drawing nearer to God is not sinning less and less and getting better and better, but becoming weak and dependent. His power – his strength – perfect in my weakness.
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