Psst, you there, with the heavy pack and slow step, come in close for just a sec.
I’m no stranger, my footprints are right over there on this same path – still deep (my pack was heavy, too). I’ve been where you are now and I just had to come back with a few refreshments – I know this part gets wearisome. It gets long here and your feet are sore and you feel a little… done? Yeah, I know… I felt done, too.
You have secrets. Secrets that the rest of us would find disgusting. You would tell them in mutters and we would recoil in horror at your depravity. We would affirm what you already know: there is no hope for you. And then we would deliver you to a God who is waiting for your destruction because for all this talk about love and forgiveness, there’s a line and you’ve crossed it.
Can I tell you something though? We won’t. I won’t.
Because I met my own depravity and I thought the same things right over there – you can still see the marks of my knees in the dirt where I gave up trying to walk forward. And then somebody came along – somebody was already along – and grabbed my arm firm and fast, pulled me close and held my face to tell me square in the eye that everything really was okay. Like really okay. To keep walking. I was getting somewhere.
He’s coming for you, too. (And really, he’s here now, say hi.)
And we are out here, too, wandering. We the sinners, we the liars, we the proud and vain. We are here with dirty knees and stories with endings that look more like beginnings, hands gripped tight by that savior you are afraid is too good to be true (he isn’t).
So keep walking, friend. Keep walking and wondering and asking and searching. Take these bits of nourishment and find new strength to press on. It’s hard and it hurts, but it hurts because we’re sick, not because he is punishing us.
He is not punishing you.
And soon enough, when you’re at the end of your reasons for why you shouldn’t be so loved, when he’s let you lay your case out tediously, deliberatly, after he’s listened to your self-accusations and convictions, when he’s let you degrade the one he loves (that’s you, sweet friend), he’ll take a deep breathe and answer. And it will be convincing this time. He’ll say it however you need to hear it for it to stick. Then you’ll have that to cling to when you’re tempted to wander back this way.
It’ll come. “Weeping may endure through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” And look there, I think I see the sun rising.