You want to see me angry? Come and watch me play 5aside. It might not happen every week but come a few weeks in a row and sure enough the incredible sulk will appear. The source of my anger? Me. Although if you are participating you might think my childish strops are directed at others. Off the pitch I am entirely realistic about my footballing skills – I’m no slouch, but I’m not going to be signing any contracts soon. However on the pitch I seem blinded to my middling skills, I demand perfection from my every touch, pass and shot. And should I mess up? Well then I am my harshest critic, I cannot forgive myself for any lapse in my imagined footballing skill.
What is amplified on the 5aside pitch plays out more subtly in real life. In real life I find it equally hard to live under grace, but not because I demand perfection from my every move. In life I am far too aware of my faults and this makes it hard to believe I deserve any grace at all. And what does this refusal to live under grace say? It tells God that I basically believe his sacrifice to be worthless. If I don’t live in the freedom and grace that Jesus died to provide in essence I am mocking His death. I am doubting that God is good to His word, that He knows what He is doing.
When Moses was told God’s plan he also had some doubts. When Job suffered awful loss He also had some questions regarding God’s methods. What did God say to Moses? To Job? What does He say to me?
‘Who are you that you question my plans? Do you see the bigger picture or just your own small world? Man up and answer my questions! Did you make the lips or cause man to speak? Did you put the breath into his lungs? Did you call light out of the darkness and cause it to shine? Did you carve mountains from rock, and sweep valleys into existence? Where were you when I built the earth? Did you measure the sky? Can you sue God for malpractice? Can you make a claim that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. Why do you refuse to live in freedom? Why do you chain yourself to guilt and regret? Did you design life? Is this your better way of living? Aren’t you tired of trying so hard? Of judging others and being judged? Will you humble yourself and watch me? Learn from me? Come to me, learn how grace works, I will not force anything on you. I will not burden you with more than you can handle and I will never desert you. Can you say the same?’
(Cobbled together from Job 38 onwards, Exodus 3 & 4, and Matthew 11 with a liberal sprinkingly of my own paraphrasing!)