I finished this book by Nancy Ortberg yesterday. Another Christmas gift from another sweet friend. I was trying to savor it, because each vignette was worthy of contemplation, but I ended up gulping down the remaining chapters yesterday morning. I have said before that I love to read stories of people finding faith, and this book is definitely one of those, but it is really more. It is a memoir of seeing God’s grace while serving in ministry, which is encouraging for me from where I sit several years (not in age, but more in experience) behind Nancy. It is about hope and joy. About finding God in the midst of every longing, every ache, every painful experience. And in the ordinary. It is about not being perfect, or not trying to look perfect. It is a faith journey I can embrace without the side order of guilt. I loved Lauren Winner’s endorsement on the rear cover of the book. She says, I know I will return to this book.
Here is one little bit I hope I will keep returning to until I get it.
Every longing is an echo, an ache for the perfection that we were created in the image of. If we pay attention to the pain, struggle with it and live in it, we grow. We know God more deeply. He is more real to us and intersects our lives. We understand how we can apply the love of God and the power of the Cross to our lives.
If we ignore our longings and cover them over with platitudes about blessing, we lose. We miss the chance to apply God to our lives. He becomes a cliche and we, a joke.
Two of the most powerful things that God offers us are His grace and His forgiveness. Yet when we insist on ignorning the difficult parts of life, we are effectively saying that we don’t need those two things. So the power of God is lost in our lives. And we wonder why following Him has become predictable and dull.