i was all. ummm. that's like saying, only hang out with robots. but come to think about it, robots are probably stressful when they go all iRobot on you, takin' over the "mainframes" and changing all the magical codes with their laser eyes so that they can make us their slaves.
humans, by nature, will produce for one another stress con-thantly, conthantly. (does anyone know that dave barnes reference?)
your friends and your sisters and your kids and your husband and..well...you. if we go around beating each other with phrases that sound cool but really are just pleasant semantic tom-foolerie meaning, i'm using you for what you can bring to the table in this relationship. better make me feel good...or else!
(this is the only picture i could find of a table. you're welcome.)
i thought about the cross intersecting this phrase. and i thought about what jesus did on the cross for all the people that "made his life stressful". you know, those disciples who fought over who was greater. the crowds that wouldn't let him rest. his family that didn't believe he was the savior.
what's more, he purposefully surrounded himself with these people, including, everyone's fave...judas! ding ding. mr. stressfest himself.
and yet it was part of the plan.
not so that we could come up with platitudes and sayings that make us feel good about being selfish and refusing to love others when the cost is too high, but so that we would see Jesus: long suffering and sacrificial, even with his very dear friend who eventually betrayed him for a couple bucks.
that was on purpose. it was written about way before it even happened.
i take great comfort that people in our lives are in our lives on purpose. we will often be quick to say, God put so-and-so in my life as a gift! but when we have a difficult relationship, perhaps God was looking away when this person arrived in my life?
no. not for a moment, did he forsake us.
then perhaps, both are gifts.
when i see the relationship Jesus had with his rag tag, often difficult and bone-headed team of disciples (a.k.a closest buddies) and particularly when i see God allowing Judas in Jesus' life, i'm reminded that even those difficult relationships give us purposeful opportunities to be a part of grace appearing to an undeserving people. the mirroring of God's great gift to us in Jesus. his death to self over and over again in relationships, in his exhaustion, in his joy and in his sadness, even when they denied him or betrayed him... it didn't change the call to glorify his Father.
so instead of finding all the undeserving, stress-inducing friends, deniers, or betrayers and dropping them, perhaps we should see ourselves as one of them. one of them that gets a seat at the banqueting table with our savior-- the savior who was forsook so that we would not be forsaken.
that's some crazy good news. we are not denied or accepted based on what we "bring to the table"!