"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Christ Jesus is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy because I am holy."
-1 Peter 1:13-15
Almost twenty-one years ago, I lifted my hands for the first time in a church in Houston, and surrendered all the questions, all the fears, all the not-enough of who I was to the God who loves me best of all.
Since that day, I have raised my hands many times because I haven't always known when to do, how to do, why to do all the Jesus things.
In the last few weeks I've raised my hands over racist murder, friends who accuse, babies who were in the hospital, facebook posts that are wounding people I love, and laws that make some people so very happy and others so very scared.
Maybe it has always been like this for Christ-followers. We seem to disagree about a lot, today and historically. We have things like the New Testament letters, church splits, and the Reformation to prove how complicated it is to know what is right and what is wrong when living out our faith.
It all matters. It is all important. And yet, we don't all agree. We are supposed to love one another, but when emotions run high and disagreements blossom into shattered relationships it is challenging to even like one another.
But for twenty-one years, I have found one thing we can usually all agree on: Jesus.
This morning I made cinnamon toast for my son. I forgot to set a timer and the bread blackened to a lovely shade of never-gonna-eat-that. I looked that piece of toast in the face and I raised my hands. Because isn't this just life?
I don't know what to do to make anything easier for us all. I don't know what tomorrow or the next year or the next decade holds for our country. There will be burnt toast and charred souls and broken bits of dreams lying around us everywhere until Jesus comes back. And I don't know what it will be like, exactly, on that day, when we take our turns standing before the God who created all of us, loves all of us, and commands all of us to be holy as He is holy.
If God is all that the Bible says He is, it will be a moment filled with awe and terror and glory like none we have ever known.
My heart hopes for one thing on that day when God shows me all the ways I have failed Him or misunderstood His will for me: mercy.
My soul longs for one thing when God shows me all the ways I have triumphed and made Him proud to be my Father: approval.
My bones ache to see one thing when everyone I love comes before Him and sees His greatness on display: knees that bow and tongues that confess His lordship. The Bible is clear that not all people are God's children, and yet it also says God desires that not one of us would perish, and that all would come to repentance. How will all that sort out on the last day of all the days when Jesus returns? I don't know, but that is why our own holiness is important, why the gospel must be full of grace and truth, and why loving one another is vital in this world.
Until that day, you will see me over here, raising my hands in surrender and in praise of the One who loves me best of all. We will make it through this confusing world one day of thanksgiving and praise at a time. And, I trust, we will make it through together- disagreements and all.