Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:29
“I was wondering why his conversations always sound so weird.” Adrianna said yesterday while I folded S.M.’s shirts from the dryer.
“How weird?” I sat on the couch with a pile of warm clothes in a basket as Adrianna sat on the armchair in front of me, drying her eyes with a tissue.
“He’s too high for God.” She said.
I stopped folding S.M.’s favorite green shirt–the one with a two-inch hole in the underarm. “Uh? Who?”
“I mean,” She swallowed and paused. Her nose began to drip and she lunged for the tissue box. She blew loudly into the tissue before continuing, “He’s addicted to a drug and we had this wild conversation. I thought he was close to knowing Christ, but it turns out he doesn’t read the Bible and he has elevated himself higher than God. My brother…he’s so lost. He’s created this Jesus in his mind that doesn’t exist in the Bible.”
“Oh no.” I put down the shirt. Why am I folding it? It’s a shirt that should become a rag! Or thrown away!
“Yeah, I cried this morning when I found out he was taking drugs. I prayed all the psalms I could think of.” Adrianna mopped her wet face with more tissue.
I looked at the pile of tissue forming in the middle of my coffee table, before looking at my friend. “I’m sorry.”
What can you say in times like that? I just want to hug her and say everything is going to be okay and work out. Life doesn’t work out that way though. It’s not a Hallmark movie. It’s a long process that you hope her brother makes a good decision before his life here on earth ends.
I took a deep breath and said, “Let’s pray.”
We reached our hands across the gap between us and held tightly as I prayed:
Lord, please be stronger than the drug and the wild thoughts in her brother’s head. Please guide him back to you. Bring people in his life that he’ll listen to, and don’t humble him in such a way that he has to live with his bad decisions. Only you know how to speak to Him. We have no power. In Jesus name, amen.
Adrianna let go of my hand and sank into the chair. “Thank you.”
I picked up the green shirt and paused. “My husband has worn this shirt since before we were married. It has too many holes and worn places. I keep telling him we should just throw it away. He keeps wanting to hold on to it. It’s a good wear-around-the house kind of shirt. So he keeps trying to redeem it.”
Adrianna waited. I was well-known in her circle of my colorful analogies. I was amazed that Adrianna didn’t roll her eyes like S.M. occasionally does, but I plunged on anyway.
“Jesus died for your brother so let’s not give up on praying fervently for your brother. God will send people. What we can focus on today is how your brother is still seeking to know Jesus. So we need to keep speaking truth in his life even if it hurts. Just affirm it with love.” I folded the shirt and set it gently in the pile.
Adrianna began to laugh. “Is the shirt redeemable?”
“NO.” I said resolutely. “But this shirt is worth keeping to preserve my marriage.” And we laughed together though her eyes still looked twice as large as her face, swollen from shedding so many tears.
Okay…so maybe you lost my point in the shirt analogy.