Thursday, November 19, 2009
I think John the Baptist "got" us...
I finally figured out why I am so anti- fall/winter season. Not only am I cold to the bone ALL THE TIME, but when the hard stuff of life happens, during this season there is no EXTERNAL distractions to remind me that "tomorrow is a new day". No beautiful peonies, no breathtaking roses or friendly petunias. No bluer than blue skies or sun light through the tree canopy. Everything is either dead or dying. Nice, right?
I have been struggling to not go to the negative- but it wasn't until the other day that God really gave me a smack. A good smack. It's so hard to forget that your stinkin' landlord is a compulsive liar, hard to forget that you are going to have to move again for the umpteenth time because of his bad choices. Hard to stop missing all the things you once held dear if you are horse crazy and living in "Two Tone Land" suburbia with no horses or dogs for comfort, just your gossipy retired neighbors two feet away on the left, and the neighbors who refuse to speak two feet on the right.
But to tell you about the smack- We had come off this amazing weekend where we took the teens to an "all girl" Christian conference. Awesome, encouraging, amazing time of connecting and seeing God work. But I still felt kind of bummed out. Like "Is this really all the Christian life is suppose to be, Lord? Did I miss the email saying misery was part of your plan?" Nothing but messing up and fighting just to stay afloat?
Then I heard a guy named Ron Merrell talk about John the Baptist and Jesus (www.cschandler.com- he use to preach at our church in AZ but has since moved to California. Amazing lover of Jesus, and always so biblically sound). And God reminded me what his purpose for me is. Smack! :)
What was so wonderful was to realize that my questions didn't mean I lacked a love for God, which is sometimes how I feel. My questions didn't mean I was a loser and a failure to God. My questions just meant I was in good company. You see, Johnny boy- the Master of the Desert, the Preacher of Truth, the WILD man, and the person who baptized GOD- wondered at God's plan sometimes too. Luke chapter 7 shows us a place God brought John that no one would ever want to be. He was in a dark, dank cell...waiting for his head to roll. I think he was just saying to himself over and over, "don't give up, don't give up". But in verse 19 you see it, you see Johnny be real, and ask Jesus- "Why aren't you rescuing me?" Now- it doesn't say it exactly like that, he actually says "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" Luke 7:19 But the Bible tells us that John KNEW Jesus was the one, he was THERE when he dunked the Lord of the Universe in the river and heard the voice of GOD speak down, claiming Jesus as His son...the savior of the world. (Matthew 3)I think John was really asking "Is my pain and DEATH really part of your plan?"
My favorite part is how Jesus answered:
Blind dudes- check! Lame walkers dancing- check!
Creepy skin diseases not grossin' us out anymore- check!
People SAVED- check check check!
Ron Merrell is so bold (and right) to paraphrase and say that maybe Jesus was saying "I didn't come to save you from pain and suffering, John. I came to save you from MEANINGLESSNESS." It is a blessing if this fact doesn't cause you to fall away."
Can I trust Jesus to come through for me? You bet I can! And it doesn't have to look the way I think it should look, and it doesn't have to be at the time that I most want it. I can't see the BIG picture, so I need to see the BIG God. This good and faithful pastor said "The Christian walk is SUPPOSE to be a dangerous, scary adventure." And as I read John's story again, and felt a small taste of what he might have felt, I realized how totally right that was. I shouldn't settle for less than a dangerous, thrilling, scary and AWESOME adventure in this life- because if I don't quit now- I just might get the chance to do something amazing for my King.
I hope this makes you want to read Luke again like it did for me. Dig deep, friends- and see what God has for you. Now I can even look at this dreary, gray season with a smile and see that "tomorrow is a new day".
(In my survey of my sad, dying garden- I did find this little treasure! I spent the whole summer fighting to get this begonia to behave...with little success. And with no attention and freezing temps- look at it! So vibrant and pretty. Thank you God for the little God Stops that make us smile.)