There was a time in my life where I would have seen a video like this one and felt sadness for the parents or the child. Now I look at it and marvel at the miracle of technology and peoples God given talent to solve problems, but more importantly, the joy with which little miracles afford a family like ours to have.
I remember when Sunny was born struggling to survive, my first reaction was to pray for healing instead of praying for the strength to embrace the journey even though my intuition was telling me I needed to get real – quickly. I only did that because the experience was dissonant and I assumed the experience had to be corrected, that somehow a crisis wasn’t a natural part of life. After all, this didn’t look like the successful life I was brainwashed to expect. In a disturbing way our family wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the struggles we face with Sunny, we are better people for it – I think of our family as complete, not something to fix but something to learn and grow from. If I had a choice I would never sign up for the journey, it had to be forced on me but in a warped way I am grateful. Ha….there was so much more to the story that I would soon discover, I can only laugh at my simple mindedness in those days.
Now I see beauty in subtle things and I accept that struggle is part of our human condition and it is not evil. The brokenness of life is where miracles are found, not the big fancy ones, but the important life changing ones. The kind of miracles that actually count for something, like the softening of a person’s heart towards the poor. I’d rather spend time with someone who has had to reconcile a contradiction in their life than a successful person who hasn’t experienced a heartbreak. It is in the heartbreak that you begin to resonate with Gods heart and the passion for justice.
I don’t know why God seems far away or disengaged at times but I am in no doubt about his resolve to make things right…..eventually. Honestly the waiting pisses me off and I can’t understand how God can tolerate the intolerable day after day, but this abrasiveness isn’t enough for me to cease embracing my faith with lashings of hope.
When I was a kid I used to think that grace was simple or at least had simple ramifications. I figured if God was intent on giving grace so easily then maybe other things in life were meant to be easy too. The adults around me saw roadblocks in life as something to be prayed away with the expectation that God’s will would come about soon enough – which disturbingly was always in the context of blessing Christians even more than they were already. I was greatly influenced by this kind of thinking until my late teens.
Funnily enough my life history never ever reflected that as reality anyway, everything about my life was chaos, in fact, most of my friends who weren’t Christian were much happier than me! I was a pastors kid who grew up in a church and was taught all Christians should live a blessed life and if you struggled it was an indicator that I’d sinned somewhere along the way. This was also the same environment that taught people to pray for car parks but seldom help the poor. Scary stuff – I imagine a furious God when people treat him like a vending machine.
Now when I reflect on God I marvel at the biblical characters and giants of the Christian faith where injustice had the steering wheel and brokenness had the accelerator. Even Jesus had a brutal life experience. Life is full of contradiction and challenge, it always has and always will. If we look carefully into the eye of life with its’ 360 view, we realise it is the whole experience that creates substance – particularly the challenges.
It really is only the lifestyle in westernised countries that allows room for extravagant expectations of a nice house, car or money to burn. I think we have rocks in our head if we think God is focused so intently on blessing a community that is already the most blessed generation in history when millions of people are hungry right now. If God is a God of justice we should all be feeling a little uncomfortable.
These days when I think of grace I am grateful for how it allows me to let go and take God out of the cookie cutter box that I carefully built. This new grace allows me to doubt God and process things instead of burying my questions. With this new grace I can acknowledge how reality screams at me pointing out all that is wrong with my life and at the same time feel perfectly safe in my relationship with God – even though that relationship is sometimes dysfunctional. With this new grace I can read the bible and allow its brutality, its love, its contradiction, its pain, its joy and its truth burrow deep into my soul instead of being confined to my head where it is categorised into boxes of black and white.
When I sing the song Amazing Grace and the line ‘my chains are gone’ I am thinking the chains are broken from a one-dimensional, risk free, controlling relationship that I used to demand from God. These days when my reality screams at me that life is broken, I grab my new version of grace and wear it like my favourite clothes knowing that God is big enough to embrace my humanity.