It’s not up to you.

So after suggesting that we aren’t as alone as we feel and that you aren’t really the worst failure in the world, we come to our third reminder for what feels like the worst day of your life: You don’t have to fix yourself to make God happy.

We make the wrong connection between God’s love and our actions. We say that God’s love, God’s openness to us, affection for us, willingness to die for us, depends on how deserving we are, how good we act. We work really hard to live up to what God must want.

committed completelyAnd on really bad days, sometimes we think that we have to make ourselves better for God to pay attention to us. That’s why we try to make deals about what we’ll do if God fixes things. And, I suppose, it’s why we then are frustrated when God doesn’t keep his part of the bargain, the one that he didn’t actually make.

God’s attention to us is more compassionate. Paul says:  “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” And then he says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

But this isn’t to say that there is no connection between God’s love and our actions. There’s an calling and opportunity to show God’s love in our actions. As we understand that it isn’t our actions that make God love us, we can act in a loving way because of love.

And we can stop blaming God for punishing us or being afraid that we’ve offended him or thinking he must be trying to get our attention on what feels like the worst day of our lives.

Sometimes on what feels like a terrible day, God is with us, God doesn’t regard us s a failure, and God’s not waiting for us to fix things. Sometimes, on these days, God is quietly speaking and reaching out his hand, for a person he loves very much.

Like you.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.