Folded like a Dear John letter

Bob Goff tells of his first lost love. He was a young freshman trying to find his way. Then the devastating “Dear Bob” letter arrived with the post. His high school sweetheart, now at UCLA, had fallen for a fraternity brother. He was devastated. After swearing off all things Greek Bob jumped in his VW and drove to win her back. Nothing changed.

As he reflected on that hurt, Bob offered this fine piece of truth:

“I’ve learned that God sometimes allows us to find ourselves in a place where we want something so bad that we can’t see past it. Sometimes we can’t even see God because of it. When we want something that bad, it’s easy to mistake what we truly need for the thing we really want. When this sort of thing happens, and it seems to happen to everyone, I’ve found it’s because what God has for us is obscured from view, just around another bend in the road.
It’s in my nature, maybe all of our natures, to try to engineer things … but when I do that, I also get what I don’t want too….”[1]

He said that he’d received a lot of “Dear Bob” letters since then and some were thick and folded. They left him feeling as folded as the letters. But he had come to see that what follows the “Dear Bob” introduction is a new form of God’s grace creased in the folds of that painful experience.

Bob is right of course. The hurts, setbacks, and heartbreaks are like painful creases in our lives. We get bent and folded like a “Dear John” letter. But each fold teaches us about grace in ways that we can never know otherwise. If we could step out of the moment and gain the perspective of distance we might see that these are the very things that make our lives beautiful.

“We’re all a little like human origami,” Bob wrote, “and the more creases we have, the better.”

James said it like this,

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-3).

[1] Goff, B. Love Does. Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books. 36.

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