Months ago a friend handed me a little book entitled “Have A Little Faith,” written by Mitch Albom. You should go buy a copy. To whet your appetite, the book tells the story of Rabbi Albert Lewis, who asks Mitch to deliver his eulogy when the time comes. It was a strange request, as Mitch had pretty much abandoned faith. But over the last few years of Albert’s life, Albert rekindled Mitch’s faith through deep friendship and the telling of story after beautiful story. One of those stories is called “Salesman.”
Albert told the story like this: “There’s this salesman, see? And he knocks on a door. The man who answers says, ‘I don’t need anything today.’ The next day, the salesman returns. ‘Stay away,’ he is told. The man gets very angry and yells and threatens the salesman. On the third day the salesman returns once again. ‘You again!’ the man screams. ‘I warned you!’ He gets so angry, he spits in the salesman’s face. The salesman smiles, wipes the spit off with a handkerchief, then looks to the sky and says, ‘It must be raining.’”
Albert explained to Mitch—to us all—that love is just like that. If they spit in your face, you say, “It must be raining,” and you go back tomorrow. You stay at it. Albert would agree I think, that such love mimics the endless, relentless love of God. He stays at it.
God’s love for us does not depend upon who we are, the good or bad we have done, or the mistakes we have made. God’s love depends upon his own nature and goodness. Even when we spit in his face, he keeps coming back. That is why the worst of your personal failures, the worst crimes you have committed, your divorce, your drug abuse, your emotional baggage and weakness, your arrest record, your selfishness, your adultery, your addiction, your dishonesty, stupidity, and your bone-headed decisions—fill in the blank— can never separate you from God’s love.
God is not keeping his distance. He arrives at our doorsteps with open hands and an open heart. Even if we shake our fist at him in rage, spit in his face, and do everything we think possible to spurn his love, God will be back; standing on the porch in the rain of our refusal, eager and ready to love us through our rejection.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.