You know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway. I am familiar.
Any person who has texted behind the wheel, stalked Instagram like a coveting neighbor, chased that first high, lied/cheated/stolen “just a little,” drunk dialed, etc. etc. knows you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway.
This happened a mere few days ago: I was going to Starbucks for a little pick-me-up, a little party in my mouth. The entire way, I convinced myself that refreshing iced green tea was the best choice. After all I had recently cut out dairy (which leaves me ill) and sugar (which leaves me ill and self-loathing). Then the drive-thru greeted me with a large, digitized photo of the new Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino like it had been made in heaven itself. I’m not exaggerating: I studied this photo like there was going to be an exam.
“Welcome to happy hour,” chirped the barista. “The frapps are all half pri—!”
“SOLD!” I couldn’t get the word out fast enough. My sensibilities never knew what happened.
Clearly I’m not above temptation, even when the costs cut a lot deeper than five bucks. If I need a pick-me-up or my wounds need soothing or my ego needs stroking or my discomfort needs comforting, I will hustle for the fast fix of a fairy godmother and deal with midnight’s reality later.
But expedience never satisfies. The brokenness remains and the consequences get a little harder.
Why don’t I consistently go to God to fill me up? I don’t know; why don’t I consistently eat my vegetables? I don’t doubt that God loves me, but I do frankly worry that his ways are more “tough love” than I prefer. Like, I’m glad I can count on heaven, but I’m not really cozy with the dying part. This line of thinking makes me suspect that God will take care of my sanctification, but I have to look after myself for all the more frivolous things like safety, reassurance, a comfortable retirement. It’s true; I have trust issues.
Maybe this is why every time I read 2 Samuel 12:8, tears come to my eyes. God has reached out to his beloved adulterer David: “I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.”
This wrecks me.
I am settling for expedience when God is offering extravagance. He would have given even more—love over shame, mercy over condemnation, joy over despair, light over darkness, life over death—all of this, even more, even for me.
God actually said it to King David, but it could have been said to Adam and Eve in the lavish, untarnished garden. It could have been said to his disciples when the resurrected Jesus held out his hands and showed his wounds. “If all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” I think this is his modus operandi.
God offers unconditional love for failures, for all of us who know we shouldn’t but do it anyway. His invitation: Come away with me, and you’ll recover your life from the traps of expedience, the hangovers of bad decisions, the tricks of temptations, the prison of death.
Skip the drive-thru. Go where you’re loved.
Written by an [unnamed] member of Pulpit Rock Church