Not long ago my husband Dave came home from meeting with a friend who is going through an unwanted divorce and is in a lot of pain.
“You know,” he remarked. “It’s amazing how it works. I’m sitting across from this guy realizing that none of my successes in life are of any use to him. It’s only my failures that are helpful.”
That’s so true, isn’t it? Our personal achievements, though wonderful to us, are rarely all that valuable to hurting people. Instead, it’s our past mistakes and brokenness that bring the most hope to others. If God brought us through, maybe they can make it, too.
I forget this so easily. A couple hours before my interview on Tuesday, I stared out my hotel window, gulping back fear, trying to sense God’s reassurance. I kept waiting for him to say, “You’re going to do so great!”
But instead, he reminded me that I’m not there to impress or perform, but simply to say to some folks out there, “Me too.”
Look at me. I’m just like you, and I too found myself in a place of desperation that I never imagined possible. I too, spiraled into addiction despite being a Christian. I too, couldn’t seem to fix or change myself. And yet here I am today…
Author and fellow recovering alcoholic Brennan Manning writes, “One of the most healing words I ever spoke as a confessor was to an old priest with a drinking problem. ‘Just a few years ago,’ I said, ‘I was a hopeless alcoholic in the gutter in Fort Lauderdale.’ ‘You?’ he cried, ‘O thank God!’”
This story reminds me of when I met Susan. I was still in the depths of my drinking and Susan was marrying one of Dave’s best friends. When she eventually admitted that she was an alcoholic in recovery, my first reaction was to cringe: How embarrassing for her!
And yet, in some secret place deep inside of me, her confession lit a spark of hope. If she could be happy in recovery, maybe I could too.
Of course, Susan had no idea how God was using her in my life. So maybe, “Me too” isn’t just something we get to say, but a posture of vulnerability we get to live every day.
Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t part of why God sent Jesus. It would help to explain why he had to endure so much suffering, pain and humiliation. Why he had to face every temptation known to man, be rejected, reviled, and betrayed by a beloved friend.
Maybe Jesus was God’s way of saying, “Me too.”