September 1, 2013
Sunday, 8:00 p.m.
Letter #293: His Grace Is Sufficient
I just returned from a fun, refreshing three-day visit with a good friend of mine who flew out to see me. To be this blessed by God through one of His children is a reminder of my Father’s unconditional love for me. Just as I am physically incapable of returning the gift of a visit and its associated financial costs, I am incapable of paying God back for the gift of life, eternity, and the Holy Spirit. This is a needful remind for me, because I like to be self-sufficient and able to provide for my needs and for those around me. Prison has stripped me of that ability, but God had tried to break me of unhealthy desires for self-sufficiency years ago.
I’ve never been successful in business. Sure, I survived, often for years, providing funds I needed for various activities, purchases, or gifts. But if I evaluate my performance in those early years, I find I never threw myself fully into anything. When I worked for others, I wasn’t driven to be my very best as an employee, and when I was in business for myself, it was usually just to avoid having to work hard.
One of my last business ventures was the best—and worst, by far. After an initial phenomenal start-up month, I ran with my instincts (which I have learned to be incorrect) and got funding to expand the business. By “funding” I mean that I borrowed a ton of money from good friends, family, and business associates.
Under my poor leadership, the business crumbled immediately, leaving me unable to even pay some of my employees their final month’s salary. Only a couple of investors were partially repaid, but most received nothing back of their hard-earned savings.
Worse yet, my solution to this extreme embarrassment was simply to “disappear,” not communicating with my creditors, who were left with no explanation or assurances that I would try to repay them. I felt horrible, but mostly because I’d failed to keep my word, failed to provide what I said I would.
My pride took a severe blow. I wasn’t used to failing, but I’d certainly done just that. I was usually successful, but that was often due to something coming easily to me, like school, or due to the input of others, like music, or because I never tried for much anyway.
I’ve attempted to make amends with each of those that I owe money to, but it is painful for many of them. Some forgiveness has been granted; one creditor wrote back that I owe him “piano lessons for life.” But silence from others makes clear that my mistakes have possibly cost our relationship as well. I can only hope to someday make it right to each one.
And now, years removed from those blunders, I wish I’d not been so pridefully stuck on being in control and self-sufficient. I can’t provide for myself, much less provide meaningful employment for anyone else. My ability to bless others financially is gone, and I am instead the one others bless with letters, books, visits, and packages. Gifts that I don’t deserve, sent from the hand of my Heavenly Father.
All these a reminder of the greatest Gift He’s given me: Himself. In Him, I find my sufficiency. In Him, I have all that I need. In Him, I have more when I am less. In Him, I am loved because it is in His character to love the unlovely.
Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul;
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation, so rich and free.