Grace for the Humble (not just the saved)

In the company of drunks – there’s a place I feel very much at home still to this day.  I spent a good portion of my 30’s on stools in dive bars, airport bars, brewpubs… anywhere the empty, the eff-ups, and the out-of-control met for drinks and hollow company.  I would catch glimpses of Jesus weaving his way between us, between our words, between our silences.  This was Jesus, the friend of sinners and drunks – Jesus who made a point to eat and drink in houses like ours with people like us rather than recline with the pious.

It wasn’t till later in life that I saw Jesus plainly in the company of recovering drunks, some Christian, some not, and some defiantly not, each simply practicing humility and doing the next right thing with all the earnestness available to the lowly in spirit.  They’re just humble enough to believe in God and accept him (or her, or it) as a power greater than themselves.  They’re just humble enough to ask for help when they need it and humble enough to let go.  “All I know is there is a God and I’m not him,” you’ll hear.  I found the Jesus I’d always hoped for in experiencing a God who answers the prayers of the humble as specifically and as clearly as I’ve ever seen for any born-again believer.

Make no mistake about it.  God lavishes his grace on the humble, not just the saved.

It’s human to argue that, sure, this is all well and good, and ok, we all agree God is gracious, but just because God answers someone’s prayers doesn’t mean someone is saved.  That’s not what I’m saying.  I do say let’s not stand around like the older brother of the prodigal son, so arrogant we look more like bastard children than our own Father.  I say let scowling older brothers and sisters be made jealous by the love of God given generously to the humble, not the correct.

Well, as far as discussion topics go in recovery circles, “God” is always a heated one.  In one of these God discussions, I listened to all the standard opinions shared from either wisdom or resentment.  Then I saw the grace of God manifest in a way I’ll never forget.  A big tough guy, long beard, long graying hair, biker dude, you swear you saw him on “Ice Road Truckers”… you get the picture.  He’d been sober for over a year in the midst of terrible circumstances.  Forget wisdom.  Forget resentment.  He spoke from experience with deep gratitude and respect.  I’d never heard anything as honest and compelling because at the end of the day, it’s about God and God alone, not what we think about God.  A single tear escaped as he choked out a few words to silence the room.

"God?  I’ll tell you about God.  That son-of-a-bitch carried my ass through some deep shit."

Amen.  So say we all.