The Tragedy of Grace

I’m dumbstruck by tragedy like I’m dumbstruck by grace.
Both leave me weeping and asking “Why?”   Both feel like an ache.  Both feel like urgency.

Why did this man stab 28 kindergarteners in China?  How can life be so grave? How can this happen?

Why does God love me unconditionally when my love is nothing but conditional?  Why did he die for me when I didn’t deserve it?  How can this happen?

Somehow they feel the same, like something’s been wasted.

Because at the heart of it, grace feels like a tragedy.  It’s the gift that we don’t know how to accept, because it can’t be repaid.  It’s the sacrifice that we don’t deserve, like pearls under swine… like crucifying your savior.

The prodigal son story has a happy ending when read on paper, but the real son doesn’t stay at home, does he?  We don’t wander once and then kill the desire.  We take the money and run, many times over.  We come back ashamed, and are forgiven, many times over.  The cycle continues.  God is the one who provides, the one who is rejected and left behind, and the one who welcomes us home again.  We’re shown so clearly in Hosea that we are the continually unfaithful spouse in a sad but beautiful love story.

Our savior walked among us, taught us how to love, and suffered our brutality.  He conquered death so that we would be raised to new life with him, and so often we still choose death.  We can do anything with our lives… and too often we’d rather do nothing at all rather than give them to him.

We’d rather be bound by comfortable chains, than be frighteningly unbridled in the land of the Lord; we’d rather feel the reassurance of a stranger’s skin, than the aching freedom of unconditional love.


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