In Patrick Henry’s The Ironic Christian’s Companion, he writes about what he calls “Little brown jobs.” It’s a term borrowed from bird watchers who sometimes, despite being experienced at their hobby, simply can’t identify a bird and dub them “little brown jobs”. Henry equates this to grace in the Christian walk: sometimes Christians, despite being experienced in their faith, struggle to identify grace when they see it. Henry’s advice is to resist interpreting certain inexplicable things as God’s grace merely to pacify our fears and to accept LBJs for what they are—LBJs.
I like this. Far from negating God’s grace in our lives, it points to the truth that we understand so little about grace—and that that’s okay! Grace, like God, is a mystery, and while it’s often beyond our understanding, it’s never beyond our experience.
Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.
Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor
that God has to ask his advice?
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
(Romans 11:33-36 MSG)