Recently I was given the opportunity to speak into the lives of some adolescent boys whose stories of neglect and abandonment would cause your eyes to water before your heart knew it was being broken.
I was scared, humbled, expectant, insecure as I approached the teaching times (more so than I can ever remember after years of telling stories). I'd been encouraged, prayed-up and studied but still somehow this was different. This wasn't the churched or dechurched or unchurched...this wasn't a game of entertainment or clichés or presentation. Not a time for fake stories, whispering inflections or ancient words.
It was raw and open. Like a field fresh from war.
I finished one of the sessions feeling weightier than I had felt before I began. That I was there but wasn't, spoke but didn't. That I failed. And so there in the dark of night I walked off, looked to the stars, opened my mouth and said, "I'm sorry". Feeling a crushing sense of insecurity that I hadn't done, said, offered, been enough.
That I failed. "I'm sorry", I said quietly.
The answer back from the heavens to that unsolicited apology was clear, succinct and complete.
And that was the end of it. One word that told me all I needed to hear. That answered all my questions, filled in all my doubts and ended the conversation before it began.
So many of us who are striving to live the way of Jesus feel God's primary reaction to our lives is that of disappointment. That we're failing.
But that's not true.
God's primary reaction to us is love. All the rest is details.