Yesterday John and I said the last of our goodbyes and hit the air for Pignon, Haiti. Apart from the difficulties of saying goodbye, the most challenging part of those conversations was trying to explain the fragile conditions in Haiti, and the situations we would be in. The politics, poverty, and corruption all act against the country simultaneously along with arid weather, poor soil, and mountains upon mountains. One of the direct results of this chaos, and the example I tried to give my American friends, was the road conditions in Haiti. However, we don’t have any roads in America poor enough to compare to the main roads here, and how can you explain the severity of something like that? Upon returning to Haiti, I was quickly awakened to the fact that I myself had forgotten how weak the conditions of this country truly are. The road had also worsened, and I could not help but assume that the best of bull riders would pity me on the 5-hour drive through the night in a thunderstorm to get to Pignon.
But then my mind drifted to some words in the bible which I had read earlier that day. Romans 3 talks about the severity of sin, and how its weight would destroy us. If we knew the true severity of our sin, we would all dig holes into the ground and hide ourselves from the shame we bring upon ourselves. But, much like the frail roads, the fragile nature of the human condition is incomprehensible to us. The weight of sin is indescribable, and its inescapable grasp would cripple us every day without God’s prevenient grace. God couldn’t possibly describe to us what he is like, because we had nothing to compare him to. He would say to Moses and anyone else who asked, “I am who I am.” So, finally he sent a savior and said here, I am like him. And this perfect savior who was full of grace and mercy told us to be perfect, just as he is perfect, but he knew that is impossible, and he expects us to acknowledge that. He wants to take us to the limits of our existence where we will scratch and claw at being perfect, and when we fail, he will be there, waiting for us to lean on him.
I am doing this because God asked me to, and because he loves me so much, I will do anything. But I don’t believe that God needs me to spend my every waking hour scratching at being the best Christian I can, because the greatest act of faith I can possibly show, the only thing that truly tells me I know Christ, is being able to look in the mirror at all my failures, shortcomings, and messes, feel this weight of sin on my shoulders, and still be able to accept that Christ loves me just the way I am. Jesus didn’t die for the perfect versions of ourselves. Yes, he asks us to be perfect as he was perfect, but he knows that is impossible, and that is the very reason why he came to us and died. Christ died for the Hank that needs alone time, the one that would rather go fishing than go to church, the Hank that can’t seem to hold his tongue when he knows he needs to. I may be young and don’t know many things, but two things have grown into invariable truths for me; I am a mess, and God loves me as me.