Loser’s Guide to God’s Grace 11: Scotlandville

I am so sorry to be so long between posts! You cannot imagine what has been happening in my Loser Life!!! But that’s not important right now. Let me finish my story …

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So the worst the world can do to us … God will use to bring us love, joy, peace and grace. The bigger the Loser we are, the bigger the Winner we can be — because the fewer attachments we have to this world that stand in the way of our receiving God’s love. This means no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter how bad things are for you right now, right now can also be heaven for you.

I think about when our little dog was lost. Because I am a loser, a lame, childless loser, I invest way too much in our dog. He is like a child to me. I was out of my mind with distress about him — when he was found, I was so happy, happy, happy to have him back — all the other stuff in my life that would normally have stressed me out seemed terribly unimportant. Because I was so filled with joy to have our dog back safely! That was the only thing that mattered to me at the time.

It’s the same in your life in close relationship with Christ: because you have Him with you (because your life is hidden in Christ, really — Colossians 3:3), all the normal stuff that should bother you just doesn’t matter because you’re so happy in Jesus! I call this joyful, hidden place where we live in Christ “Scotlandville.”

Scotlandville, Louisiana, is a poor suburb of East Baton Rouge and sits on Highway 190, if I remember correctly. One nasty day my sister and brother-in-law were passing through, and a poor old man with a handicap was trying to cross the highway in the pouring rain. They stopped to let him get safely over, thinking, “How horrible to be a crippled, old man with no car trying to cross a highway to your home in Scotlandville in the pouring rain …” From that time on, when things went badly for them, they would remind each other, “At least we’re not that poor old guy in Scotlandville.”

But no. That’s the wrong way to look at Scotlandville.

My sister began this intimate walk with Jesus, the contemplative life, she calls it, before I did, and arrived at the same places I did, before me. We were discussing this idea that “in Christ” we have all we need, and heaven is here and now for us on earth, no matter our problems — in fact, perhaps because our problems had propelled us to seek Jesus … and we realized: that crippled, old man in the pouring rain in Scotlandville might have been as happy as a lark, as joyful in Jesus as we are now. For all we know, Scotlandville, for him, is paradise!

This is what the grace of God does for you; this is what immersion in Christ does for you: it makes anywhere that He is, paradise. And He is everywhere. He is always with you. Whenever you can settle your mind and reach for Him, He is there, and you are with Him in paradise.

Now for my sister and me, “Scotlandville” doesn’t mean a thundering Gulf Coast storm and a poor crippled man. It means paradise. What can be better than that?

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