He was so angry, he left when I came to visit.
His life has been a mess for years. Now, sure, he’s brought it on himself through a series of unwise decisions and not a few decisions that were plain sinful. Doesn’t really matter, though. Living in the ruins of your own life can leave you very, very bitter. He was angry at God. And since I am God’s representative, it means he was angry at me.
I’d come to visit him and his wife. His wife was so apologetic for him.
“It’s ok,” I told her. “You can’t control him. His actions aren’t your fault, and your actions aren’t his fault.” It’s almost like I’ve said it before to them.
We chatted more. She told me they were doing ok. “We have enough food for tomorrow,” she told me. Only enough for tomorrow. Not enough for Thanksgiving. Not enough for the rest of the week. They truly had daily bread, and that alone.
After about fifteen minutes, he came back. He’d calmed down enough. We chatted for a bit, but I couldn’t stay long today. We sat down.
I shared a devotion. It was all about how God owes us death, but gives us eternal life. He owes us hell. He gives us heaven. He owes us punishment. He gives us forgiveness.
God is very, very generous.
And then we shared that generosity. I got to give this husband and wife Jesus’s own body and blood in, with, and under the bread and the wine. Forgiveness they could taste and see. Another gift from a God who dearly loves them.
And then I got to share that generosity: I gave them food. A gift from their church, from a special fund set aside for such times. A frozen turkey. A pumpkin pie. Enough food to last this husband and wife a good amount of time.
And suddenly the husband was crying. He gave me a big bear hug.
I could have shared the law with the husband. I could have come down hard on him. “I arranged to visit this day. You said you’d be here. What the crap, man?” I could have told him to cheer up. I could have pointed to past sins, and not to get mad at God or at me, his representative.
That would have accomplished nothing.
The Gospel broke open a stony heart.
As we hugged, I told him, “You matter.”
And then it was time to go. And so I left.
And this is something to remember: Yes, the Law is important. So very important! It shows the need for the Gospel. It shows us how amazing God’s generosity truly is.
But it is only his generosity that truly changes us.