Many years ago, I saw an ad on a local television station for a local radio station. The speaker was a local professional clown. He said something like, “KX... doesn't suck as bad as other radio stations.” There was an obvious pause, then, “OK, now where's my damned money?”
I naturally laughed about the total insincerity of the speaker, of course, but it inspired more thinking. I was brought up with the traditional understanding of the “Judgment Day” where a stern God demands an accounting for one's life. The subject trembles before God and stumbles and stutters trying to justify his existence, and is finally condemned to hell for eternity.Then I see myself standing before God, and God demands, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” I don't hesitate. I speak with confidence, “I don't suck as bad as the other guy.” God's lips curl with both amusement and consternation; His finger rises and points precisely at me, then a bolt of lightening renders me into a pile of smoldering ash; He nonchalantly blows the smoke from the end of His finger as a gratified smile slowly returns to His face.
I often tell my Jewish and Christian friends that my biblical hero is King David. King David was by any definition literally a royal screw-up. He was wrought with human ambitions, human stupidity, and human frailty but, before his God, he stood humble and confident, not in his own accomplishments, but in the love and mercy of his God. The Bible says of King David that he was a man after God's own heart.
King David and I are kindred souls. Daily, I am subjected to my human frailty, and daily I account to myself for all of my failures for the day. And with honesty and confidence, I confess them to my loving and merciful God. I have an expectation and confidence, not in myself, but in His unconditional acceptance, His love for me and His desire to nurture and mentor me to be the mature spirit He knows I can be. At the end of the day, and indeed, at the end of this life, I don't have to worry about whether or not I measure up to some standard. I don't have to worry at all—as long as I am ever mindful of the reality of my frailty, and the power of His transforming love. I know that someday, because of His love, I will look back at my many failures in my many lives and smile, then turn to my King, my Father, the Lover of my soul, and say “thank you.”
This evening, as I walked my two beautiful dogs, I thought about one of my biggest challenges. There is a certain irony in the words I chose, “biggest challenges.” I am about one hundred pounds over-weight. Being over-weight is not a simple issue of adjusting the amount you eat. The syndrome is very complex, and it is, for most of us, overwhelming. Jon Gabriel states it best: it is more like your body wants to be fat and it fights you at every quarter in any attempt to gain control over the weight. It almost retaliates with a vengeance if you somehow manage to lose a few pounds. I have been in the battle for twenty years, and I have gained still more weight.
I recently read Jon Gabriel's book, The Gabriel Method: The Revolutionary DIET-FREE Way to Totally Transform Your Body. It makes complete sense to me. I have started the program of re-programming my thinking about my body. So far, I'm not impressed with my progress; I'm still putting on the pounds. As I walked this evening, I bemoaned my disappointment to the Archangel Gabriel – Jon Gabriel's patron angel. Then that quiet, still voice within us all spoke clearly. “There is no magic. You will learn and grow through this challenge.” With that quiet voice came a rush of more information. This challenge is not in losing the weight, but in losing the ego that feeds the vicious syndrome that keeps the body fat. I almost cried; not with sadness, but with gratitude that my God loves me enough that He doesn't get rid of the symptoms; He goes to the source of the problem and He is determined to make me draw upon every gift He has imparted to bring this challenge to resolution.