In the end, it’s all banquet. Sometimes I hate the dishes served. Sometimes, I respond as I do when DM says, “Oatmeal.” (She says it intentionally.) My face screws up, my entire body shudders, my hands twitch and I attempt, like a baby, to ward off the vile mess being pushed into my mouth. Sometimes, I hate the decor. Sometimes, I want to flee my dinner partners. But it’s still the banquet, the wedding banquet of the Lamb. It’s not something I’ll do in heaven. The Lamb’s wedding banquet is here today. On earth, the Lamb’s banquet isn’t always pleasant. Sometimes greedy people eat all the food, or the air conditioning doesn’t work, or some creepy guy talks about his mom’s health, and there are always annoying line dances that are really the Hokey Pokey in disguise. I can attend. I can leave. Still, wherever I go, I cannot escape the fire, the sword, the discord, or the cross. All I can do is decide: go, avoid. If I go, I inherit the promises: I will not be consumed, I will find my life, I will save my life.
Fallen human beings will continue to be fallen. Once I wished otherwise. God refused to exempt me from suffering. I’m glad He did. If God followed my scripts, He wouldn’t be much of a God. He’d limit me to my imagination but never anything more. It’s too little. I need infinitely more than I can ask or imagine. I’m not big enough to be my own God. I’m not even big enough to know what I need.
Who could imagine that throwing me to the pigs would save my life? Not I. Who could imagine that my curiosity would lead me to forgive the unforgivable? Not I. Who could imagine I could ever be innocent again? Certainly, not I. Nor did I know how to make any of it happen. I would have made radically different choices for myself. If I don’t know what’s best for me, how can I know what’s best for creation? If what I want is often not what I need, then I can’t depend on myself to be the ultimate arbiter of anything. I never would have saved the world with a baby. God did. I never would have included the cross. God did. Many times, I dislike His choices but I know they are right because they allow each of us to choose freely. God loves our freedom so much, that He will allow us to viciously tear each other apart. Yet our choices for others are never the final word.
Those who killed my family made real choices. My parents trusted God to care for me. He has. He does. He made me able to pray for those who made such evil choices. I do. My parents would be proud of me. It hurts to write that. They are proud of me. Those who brutalized me made real choices. They failed. I have so many failings and sins, but I’m not the person they tried to make me. The vampires hurt me but didn’t turn me. Instead, God used their actions to make me more than I ever imagined. I actually love the people who tried to destroy me. How weird is that? I’m excited about the person He is making me? As a child, I tried to kill myself and now, even when life is really tough and scary, suicide has absolutely no appeal. God peeled away my terror. I thought that impossible. My life is filled with impossible things that God wove together using wickedness and evil. The gates of hell have not prevailed. Christ reached down into the hells others cast me into, the hells I’ve created for myself, and set me free. And usually, His hands have been the hands of strangers, the people who hurt me the most.