If I Were Just a Better Christian

Chihuly Glass – The Ceiling

Freddy lived by himself on a part of the same lake I grew up on. He didn’t drive so when winter came, Freddy took advantage of the frozen lake. It cut miles off his walk to town. He was the first to cross the lake in the fall and last to cross in the spring.

One of Freddy’s quirks was that he only ate moldy bread. This was not out of necessity. At some point he had heard that penicillin was made from the mold of oranges and concluded that moldy bread would protect him  against illnesses.

The danger of having a little piece of truth is that we can make assumptions about the rest of our world.  One of the assumptions we make is that if we were just good enough, our lives would be together. We would be exempt from the “big mistakes” of life. That message comes to us in multiple ways. We see it in Christian magazines, blogs, social media, our Christian friends and the onslaught of books that tell us how to manage our family and work successfully.

It’s not so much we believe we’ll never encounter bad stuff – we know bad things happen to good people. Illness, accidents and the randomness of nature remind us everyone is vulnerable. What we don’t anticipate is that after putting heart and soul into something, it will not be enough. Then, when we lose the job, our marriage fails or we end up in bankruptcy . . . we assume we are failures.  We condemn ourselves for that which we have little or no control over. Or we never let go, when we do make mistakes. Forever hanging onto the fact, we failed at something so crucial to us.

One of the great gospel truths is that God forgives. God forgives when we mess up. The other great truth of the gospel is that God is with us. God is with us when our hearts break. God is with us in the marriage that doesn’t work out and in the job that is lost. God is with us when our children mess up and when our neighbors reject our gestures of friendship. God is with us in the accident we couldn’t prevent and the relationship we haven’t figured out how to mend. God is with us to pick up the broken pieces of our lives and weave them into a new design.

The apostle Paul writing to the church in Philippi  says. “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6   So it is with each of us.   One day we will see how God used even our worst failures and our greatest mistakes, to bring blessing to us, and through our failures to others.

Freddy may have been wrong about the moldy bread. But, he did manage to live a long life in spite of it all.