This evening I saw that a friend, my former student Rebecca (Koenig) Rich had posted some more thoughts on her own blog. I really enjoy it when Rebecca posts (in fact, I'd love it if she did so more often, but I won't force it), and she made today's words really resonate with me.
Rebecca's been doing this for some time. She was one of my most outstanding students when I taught at Westminster Christian Academy in Louisiana. She was/is diligent and would go to be nth degree to make sure she'd studied everything she needed to for a test. She also had good instincts about right and wrong, and sometimes things just dropped in her lap…once she had a dream the night before a final exam about what the extra credit question would be, and wouldn't you know it, she was dead on correct!
Yesterday, Rebecca shared on her blog about the subject of lament, sadness, and the occasional crushing wail that can hit out of nowhere. What she said was so instructive: "Another peculiar thing about lament is that it opens you up to gratitude. It's as if allowing yourself to see and share the darkness in your heart is the only way to notice all the light shining through the crevices. Yes, some things are very, very bad. But other things are good. Admitting that certain things are broken in ways they should not be makes me aware of other things that are good in ways they should not be. It opens me up to see grace."
The last time I read something that put that subject that well, it was St. Augustine: If there is a God, how is there so much bad in the world? If there is no God, how is there so much good in the world?"
Rebecca then gave a litany of many tangible items for which she is grateful: her husband Tom (whom I am long overdue to finally meet), her dogs, her friends, where they live, and some other matters. It's a profoundly wondrous list.
And then she comes to the last thing, and my heart sang.
"…thankful that I am not afraid of Jesus anymore. I don't know when it happened, but I finally stopped feeling like he was disappointed in me and started to believe that he is good and caring and gentle. This is kind of huge, because our picture of God affects everything. And my picture of him these days is pretty great."
Trust me. That's the quote of the year.
It's the Rubicon we all need to cross to truly understand and believe that grace is effective and good and lasting.
It is a major thread of the fabric of the Advent tapestry.
I couldn't be more thrilled that my friend Rebecca has shared it with us.