I’m sure of it!
For the past few years He has been taking everything I thought I knew and turning it upside down. The crazy part is, it’s not so that it makes what I believed wrong, just so much smaller than reality. I look at myself and my beliefs and am embarrassed.
One of His first tricks was leading me to a Taoist author that I was in awe of because of her Christ-like life. I’m a deeply committed Christian, but I couldn’t get over how she out-Christed me at every turn in her life. While I was whining and worrying, she was accepting with joy whatever happened, believing Love would use this… and blowing me away.
I was puzzled.
Then we became close friends with a couple who lived and worked most of the time in Africa, and they saw Muslims totally differently than everyone around me. You mean they aren’t all terrorists, full of Holy War? Could Allah and Abba be the same? Then God sent me a Muslim client that I truly enjoyed and bonded with, and we were both amazed at how much we had in common.
There were a few other such anomalies but I’ll skip to my latest one that really has my head stretching. I’ve just spent a week with my daughter who clearly spent the last 9 years of her life doing what she thought was the right thing to do. She was back in my church, her husband even joined, they made good friends, dedicated a baby–and got divorced there. She had been working hard to make a perfect life, but God had other plans.
He wanted her to admit she couldn’t “fix” her marriage, become real, and have a much broader influence.
It is so hard to watch and trust the messiness that comes with it.
But here is the kicker: today she said something that made me wonder if I think I can only love perfect people. My head begin to spin. Theoretically and theologically I know that’s wrong. But I found myself washing lettuce in her kitchen tonight saying to God, “Jesus, I know you weren’t rigid, but yet I think I should be? How crazy is that?”
This is the second year I’ve been writing a short blog on Jesus life that publishes every week-day and takes you through his life in a year.* I’ve loved it. I feel I have gotten to know him so much better. It’s very clear that his life was “messy” to everyone in his church and his culture. Even his closest friends didn’t understand him until he was gone. Yet I believe he was God in the flesh–the only perfect man.
What a conundrum this poses for Christianity! In one ditch we want to proscribe how everyone should live and act. On the other side we say it doesn’t matter how we live because Jesus “paid the price,” He took care of our disobedience. But does this make sense?
Jesus lived in God’s presence; getting every day’s plans from the Father–total communion. And mostly it shocked the religious community and looked messy. Our world could only tolerate such a pure heart for three years before we killed him for being too messy–way too messy.
Does this mean that we have to trust that God is leading those of us who want to be led by Him even if it looks and feels messy?
Do we have to let go of controlling others, and trust what God is doing with them? Trust their relationship with God and not try to correct it?