One time my husband told me about this guy…
For privacy sake we’ll call him Schmavid Poggs. What… that doesn’t work?
Okay how about Steve Johnson.
Steve hit it rich as a storm chaser. Meaning he went around the United States during tornado season and repaired the roofs of poor storm victims. That doesn’t seem lucrative to me, but la de da… it is. And he made like a lot of money. A lot a lot.
So much money that he bought himself some primo real estate in a super ritzy part of town, and promptly added a giant metal palm tree beside the pool. Because who doesn’t need a metal palm tree amiright? Then he bought cars and planes and giant diamond rings for his wife, and on and on he went.
Then he decided he’d take on a position at a trendy church in town as the unpaid pastor. It was the least he could do after raking in the millions from his storm chasing gig.
But the problem was that Steve was a real shyster. There have been lawsuit after lawsuit filed against his roofing company. He filed bankruptcy for 5.7 million dollars, and 1 million owed to the IRS. And on and on the allegations of shady shit went.
But somehow he still got hired (I say hired but he never took a salary so more like picked with the incentive of free labor) at this local church.
And the craziest thing happened. He rocked the church. He made it grow leaps and bounds. Everyone loved him. In my mind, this is not the way the world should operate. Is it too much to ask that shyster not be allowed to run a church, much less that they do exceedingly well while doing it? But for 6 entire years Steve the shyster ran the church and performed baptisms and led people to christ even though he was of questionable moral character.
It took 6 years for the elders to figure it out, and at that point, like a house of cards, it all came crashing down. He got kicked out of the church, got divorced by his wife, got sued by the courier journal and everyone else in town and out, had a lien put on his fancy house. I’m sure he lost his jets, and a car or two.
And the entire time as I watched it crumble for Steve, I couldn’t stop thinking about all those people he had pastored. To new faith or renewed faith. Through baptism. Through the death of a loved one, or through a marriage.
Was it all for naught?
And I prayed and wrestled and prayed some more, and I came to the hard truth that God can use anyone and anything in spite of what that thing may be, to bring about his glory. He can use shysters. I am sure the people he pastored will have some stuff to work out with their therapist about why their pastor turned out to be such a d, but maybe with Steve they never would have made it to Jesus, and realized the full spectrum of his love.
The reason I was thinking about all of this is because one of my favorite writers has done something so dramatic and heart rending that I have been working really hard to keep myself from not quitting at life. (To those of you who don’t understand why I take her life so seriously find a different blog. My writers are like my friends. It’s a one sided relationship, but… i love them anyway.)
This champion for marriage, and for sticking with it though hard things… she’s separating from her husband, who she describes as “emotionally healthy”. Her life is fine according to her, he’s done nothing wrong. They just grew healthier in a different way, and now to expect their life to go back to the way it was is just not possible. In her words, “it would be like a snake trying to fit back in it’s shed skin”. And her and her husband are both so sad for the kids. Like weeping uncontrollably sad.
To which I say GET YOUR ASS BACK IN YOUR TINY LITTLE SNAKE SKIN AND GRIN AND BEAR IT FOR A WHILE LONGER, AND BE SELFISH ONCE YOUR KIDS ARE GROWN AND GONE.
Seriously though… while the rest of us mere mortals are struggling with husbands who aren’t emotionally healthy (as though we ourselves know what emotional wellbeing even is) she is just throwing in the towel. She has a gold-mine in that her husband loves her, treats her well, and loves her children. And maybe they have grown in different ways, but when do you just give up on a commitment that you made before God, to the father of your children? After years of second chances and emotional hurt. After a refusal to reconcile for the 100th time. After the hope is completely gone.
When you reach that place please… divorce your husband.
But if you’re both emotionally healthy and moderately happy, then leaving is a betrayal to the commitment of marriage, and you tarnish the whole damn message.
So here I am trying to decide if I ever liked her to begin with and if all of her quotes, like “Love Wins” and “We can do hard things” are even true at all. Maybe love loses, and she was making it up the whole time. Maybe I can’t do hard things. The consistency is gone. The trust is broken.
I was telling my friend about it, and about how cynical I was feeling (not sure if you could sense any cynicism. It’s subtle I know). She said something that threw me a bit. And I quote “We unintentionally put famous people on a pedestal.”
And I was like, “Um excuse me, but she’s my friend. Who doesn’t know me. Who is really famous. Who will probably never even acknowledge a word I write say or think.”
And in my head I was like, “Well fuck. Time to kick that pedestal over.”
And I got to thinking. Love does win. We still can do hard things. Even if she’s not doing it. Even if in her own life her own words aren’t ringing as true as we’d like for them to.
God’s primary means of bringing himself glory are in the hands of stupid, inconsistent, idiotic shysters, who screw up so bad, over and over and over again.
You guys how insane is that? That He would choose fallible ridiculous human beings for this Holy sanctifying work of His. People that leave when they should stay. People that are sued by… everyone. Addicted people. Mean people. Cynical people. We are all Chosen.
And our work, be it like Steve’s, mostly crappy with some good thrown in, or like my writer friend, mostly good with some crappy thrown in, is all redeemed to it’s fullest possible extent, because God is a badass, and He knows just what He’s doing up there.
So…. what I am saying is, when a person messes up, it was only a matter of time because they are human. Humans suck. But that doesn’t mean they are a lost cause, or that their work was not important or good or true in spite of themselves. It just means they are human, and chosen like the rest of us to do a job we are grossly under qualified for.
Carry on Warriors. Your work is holy even though you’ve messed it up so perfectly.