He’s in tears over his propensity to worry. He’s crying over his chicken fingers and I know this is more than the fact that he is admittedly over-tired. These tears come from a deeper place. A fearful place I know too well.
He builds fences around himself by way of rules and regulations, numbering steps that must be taken in order to execute the necessary details of life; fences that he thinks protect him, but in reality, shut God out. He doesn’t get grace but I get him so well, because it wasn’t until last year, that grace cut me wide open while simultaneously filling my holes like putty.
We talk about Pharisees and their rules, rules they thought made them more holy, when the truth was much uglier than hard-won holiness. The rules only exacerbated their issues, displacing them from the grace. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs. (Matthew 23:27)
And when we say we can’t (because the truth is, we won’t) we build that fence a little taller. We remind God that His way with us is limited and that there are parts of ourselves that we must self-protect.
I told my son that all his worry doesn’t protect him from anything. That’s the enemy talking. That’s the doubt-seed (weed) rooted in us all from the beginning of time. The deceiver yaks in our ears and in our hearts and hands us the nails and boards as we fret and build and panic and worry, stacking those boards higher and higher.
I can’t hold my own water back as I talk to my boy about grace because redemption is my undoing, the very edge of me, where I become less, and Christ — Christ is all.
We’re mirrors of each other, wiping our tears, grappling with grace. I see a peace fill him as we shake our unbelieving heads at this obscene grace of the Gospel. He struggles to believe it, and I confess that I do too–that everyone who receives grace struggles because it’s absurd and glorious and so wildly undeserved. How can we not struggle?
We’re all a little (or a lot) afraid to let God in. We know the mess we’ve made. It’s not good, what we’ve done.
He sighs and tells me that the enemy is the advertiser of fence building material. He sells it cheap and in abundance. We laugh a little, but we lock eyes and I say, “Stop buying what he’s trying to sell you. He doesn’t have your best interest at heart.” But this Christ? This God who sent His own, while we were still sinners? He’s got us.
He sees our mess and He hops the fence anyway. He sweeps it away and calls it grace.