Loser’s Guide to God’s Grace 07: Finding Jesus

Still with me? I trust if you went and got Waking the Dead that you are reading it and following the program. I did, and I want to tell you, it propelled me to a crazy place of joy, joy. Joy, joy! Now: it doesn’t have to be that book; I think God used that book for me because He knew I would relate to all the epic sci-fi/fantasy stuff, and I did. Maybe He will even use this book to speak to you because you relate to all the LOSER stuff in me! Wouldn’t that be great? I doubt it though, because I’m such a loser, who would listen to me? Wait! That is the point of this book!

“God expects more failure from me than I expect from myself,” Brennan Manning used to say. And he should know! He was an alcoholic, even after he got “saved,” and continued to binge even as he was ministering to multitudes through his speaking and writing. The world would have called him a worthless drunk! But his books have brought hope to so many people! (Including me.) Just so you’re with me: I’m a big old loser like Brennan Manning and you, so you can trust me.

And yet here is what I found when I went chasing after Jesus demanding His healing touch: He healed my broken heart and life. Not instantly, and certainly not “painlessly.” But … he surrounded me with such love, even the “painful” parts of His healing touch were good. (Like, I don’t know, I remember being in hospital once with a really painful gnawing in my stomach, and after all the tests and things, someone finally gave me painkillers. The nurse told me I would actually feel the painkiller working up from the IV in my arm to my shoulder and down my throat to the pain — and it was true, it made me cough when it worked its way to the back of my throat! — and then, it hit the pain, and the pain stopped! That moment of pain stopped was so good, it overwhelmed the experience of the pain itself. Weird, right? But I still remember that moment of pain stopped as one of the best moments in life.)

This is sort of how Jesus helped me approach painful stuff in my past and live through it, because when we did, then the pain stopped.

Now all this interaction with Jesus which I am describing to you here, it happened over many days and weeks, and months, moments at a time, as I reached out and invited Him to meet with me and heal me. And it was all spiritual. Or, you might say, all in my head, in my mind. In a way I would relive the pivotal events in my life that had sent me down a destructive path, only I did so with Jesus there beside me, showing me what should have happened, how things could have been. And somehow, this allowed the events themselves to remain in my memory, but leeched of all the pain and bitterness. Much of the horror of them washed away … somehow being anchored in Jesus, who is all for me, helped me accept the past, embrace the lessons of it, and move on.

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I know. It sounds crazy. Or like therapy. Is that how therapy works?

Well, what if your therapist was Jesus, and He could totally hone in on the key events that shaped your whole loser life, and make it all better? That’s what He did!

Because He loves me.

And He loves you, too!

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Loser’s Guide to God’s Grace 05: If It’s Free, What’s It Worth?

If you’re a grubbing, selfish loser like me (and I am not saying you are), about now, you’re thinking: if this gift of grace is free, how worthwhile can it be? After all, you get what you pay for!

Thankfully grace reverses that whole scenario, and we losers get stuff wildly unaffordable to us! We get what we can’t and never will be able to pay for. We get the best, the most wonderful, the beyond-imagining … well, let me not get ahead of myself. Yes, the gift of grace is free, and yet, it is invaluable. Trust me on this. It’s even better than what Joel Osteen promises you!

When Joel tells you to stay in faith through your problem because God is going to use it for your promotion, for instance, we think what he is saying seems true to him because he hasn’t suffered as we have suffered. But now, I want to tell you some good news, and some bad news.

  • First, the good news: the Gospel is the Gospel, and it is true for winners and losers alike! So when Joel says to stay in faith because God is going to use that problem to promote you, he is exactly right! Yay.
  • The bad news: the “promotion” part doesn’t literally mean you are going to get a job promotion. Nor does it mean you are going to experience a financial breakthrough, a divine healing, a miraculous restoration of a relationship, a fulfilling marriage, healthy family or any other material “blessing” you can imagine.

These things are great. God is able to give them to you, and I hope He does. But in comparison with the “promotion” you’re entitled to because of your position as God’s beloved child, these things are small potatoes. Yes! The gift of grace, though free to us, is worth far, far more than any of that little list of rewards that we hanker for.

I know this, because I’ve received it, and I’m a loser, same as you!

When you step into your identity as God’s beloved, you step into your identity as God’s beloved. Nothing can be better than that! I don’t even know how to tell you how amazing it is. And I know that you won’t even understand what I am saying about it until it actually begins happening to you, but let me try. It will take a return to my stupid story. Next time.