89509111314822462_3BeA3DoH_fHere’s something:

I used to imagine that God was an old man with a beard past his nether regions who held a clipboard in his hand. One on side of the clipboard it was a page of tally marked Goods and on the other tally marked Bads.

He constantly held the clipboard and sometimes when the Bads side got too overwhelming, he’d put me over his knee and wallop me one with that clipboard, hit upside the behind with my sin, you might say.

When I say that I used to imagine that God, please don’t mistake me: used to means only two short years ago.

Lately there’s been a lot of “the church is failing…” talk flittering about places and the whole thing reminds me of that bearded God with his tally marks and spankings, keeping track of the ways in which we fail and the ways in which we bring home the gold. Lately there’s been some talk about all the ways in which the bride of Christ is not clean or spotless or too clean and spotless. I’m wondering who in the world would marry a bride who is neither and both at the same time.

Let me tell you who: Jesus.

The first time I heard my pastor talk about anything, it was a three minute clip called “Jesus wants the rose.” It was also the first time the conceptions I had about God and His tallies began to crack. Take a minute and watch it, will you please?

If Jesus wants the rose and he wants the whore and he wants the broken and beaten, doesn’t it make sense that He wants the bride who fails not only Him, but the whole world too?

Here’s something that’s a great comfort to me today and yesterday and every day for the past two years: I’m failing and fallen and broken and I’m going to fail every single person in my life in grand and manifold ways. The body of which I’m a part, the church, the bride of Christ, is going to fail too.

We’re going to stand in lines at fast food chains, or not. We’re going to write blogs we wish we could take back and say words we didn’t mean and commit to things without thinking of the full ramifications. We’re going to tweet nasty things about being peaceful and we’re going to keep our mouths and wallets shut when real injustice happens. We’re going to see our pile of bads build and fall, and our pile of goods feel paltry and half-hearted.

We are going to fail.

We are going to fail in big, fat, glaring, embarrassing ways.

But Jesus wants the rose.

So let’s do the bride a favor, shall we? Let’s bend down and pick her up, and when Jesus asks who gives this bride to her groom, let’s say, “Me, I do. We do. We give her away. We trust that You will know best what to do with her and how to do it. We trust you already have. And we’re proud to stand by her side today and trust her to you.”

And then let’s feast all together forever.


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13 responses to RED ROSES like SIN

  1. Okay. I’m in. You are right. Oh, the bride. She is hurt and ugly and kind of snotty sometimes. She is still the bride.

  2. I sorta love you =)

    She is still the bride. Kinda snotty sometimes, hurt almost always, and often times hideous as hell, but she’s the bride and He loves her. And I do too. Wow. I do.

  3. The last word makes me think of one quote that Chandler says over and over again, which I think I’ll remember the rest of my days :-) The one that goes something like, “It’s okay not to be okay! But it’s not okay to stay not okay!” Jesus accepts all that come to Him but then we start to work towards being more Christ-like, and if we fail we have a faithful Advocate. And Philippians 3:7-21 comes to mind. GOD Bless!

  4. Yup. One of the first things I remember hearing when I first came to our church. I think it almost every day since then! (God bless YOU too. We miss your face!)

  5. Oh wow. I spent this evening in a coffee shop with a friend telling her that even though I’ve been a Christian for 3 years this is still how I see God. Such a good reminder to hear this again from Matt Chandler…I listen to his sermons every week and one day hope to hear him in person if I get to Texas or he comes to England. I needed to hear this message again tonight!

  6. The Father wanted the prodigal brother AND the snobby elder brother to come in and rejoice in the feast.

    Sometimes I forget to love the elder brother too.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Yes, lets feast shall we! Just love you, but you know this already. One day when I grow up I am going to write everyday just like you do. It inspires me…

  8. Louise! So, so grateful for God’s timing in this post and your conversation. I’m praying big time that He reconciles things in your heart and you see the worth and beauty in the brokenness. Would LOVE to know if you ever get to Texas.

  9. Sometimes I forget too.
    So I write things like this to remind me.


  10. Oh dear. I’m about to renege on my “write every day” promise too. It’s TOOOOO much! Love that you’ve been inspired though =)

  11. Thankyou, that’s so sweet of you! It’s hard to realise these things that I have believed, incorrectly obviously. But at the same time I’m excited to rebuild the basics in my faith, as otherwise it pretty much sucks!

  12. Thank you. Yes.

  13. This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing the video and for sharing your heart. I was just talking with a friend the other day who recounted her own sadness over being given this same illustration–who would want the give their husband a rose like that? And the other side of this, which she pointed out through tears, is that not only does Jesus want our rose, even with no petals at all, but we also get HIS perfect rose.

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