Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales, built a small Christian animation kingdom called Big Idea and then watched it slip through his fingers. He has told his story to numerous groups. Toward the end of his recounting on his podcast of how it all got away from him, he mentions something about 40-something men that really breaks my heart:
Skye Jethani of Christianity Today chimed in too. His is a refrain I’ve sung before on Cerulean Sanctum:
I think one reason that grace, the lifeblood of the Church, remains just a concept in most Christians’ lives in the West is because of the very problem Vischer mentions: Anything less than success is considered unworthy of our attention. Therefore, people who fail go wanting, looking for grace, when grace is only afforded to those who triumph in the eyes of the world.
What do you say to the guy who finds the perfect girl—only to lose her to someone else? Or who lands the perfect job—only at a company soon to fail? Or who spends plenty of time with his kids and tries to train them up right—only for them to rebel and complain about him to friends? Or who listens to his heart and goes for his dream—only for it to crumble in loss?
Why don’t we preach a gospel that reaches that guy? Why don’t we practice a gospel that makes a safe place for him to fail? Where is that pool of grace to be found when all of life goes to pieces? And why is it so hard to find in the very place one should expect to find it?
Lastly, what if that guy tries to live by every Christian principle in the Book and still fails?
We need something better than what we’re giving people Sunday in and Sunday out. We may talk about the brokenhearted, but nine times out of 10, that brokenhearted person is someone who failed, often spectacularly. God help us if we have no grace to offer him.