I’m at New Wine, It with pouring with rain, I’m on my third pair of jeans and it is only day 1.
The weather is so bad Allana and Hope have set off home.
I’m cold, I’m wet, I’m feeling really sorry for myself.
And then just to remind me how shallow I am, how much more work God has to do in me, I walked past a guy who ended up getting a job I really wanted, and more than that felt and thought God was calling me too. Which leaves you not only feel disappointed, but also confused -God I thought you were speaking and I was just trying to be obidient…
Sometimes, the Christian life can be hard and tough, and maybe partly due to that fact I’m on anti-depressants, you can look at everything through lenses of self pity.
For the last 7 years I have worked in a Church/Parish which hasn’t really been supportive (there are one or two wonderful saints, but still they do sometimes feel a little few and far between). On some occasions had some pretty savage nastiness simply for trying to see local people of the parish come to know Jesus, the most painful thing is the mystification of it, why would people go out of their way to attack something they probably wouldn’t go to anyway? Why stick the boot in?
It is easy to ask the question, why me?
Yet standing in the rain, it felt like this was the wrong question. The question is “why not me?”
God has my life and call me, or not call me, where ever he wants to as short or as long as he wants, I gave up my say when I signed my life over to him.
In fact I can remember vividly, the night before I became a schools worker in Bournemouth/Poole area, having a really uncomfortable wrestle with God when I really felt challenged to say “come what may, it is all yours”.
-I didn’t know that at time I was standing on the cross roads where in one sense I had literally next to no money (yet somehow manage to run a car) was single for the next 4 years (but inadvertently met my future wife) and set out on a path that moved from just having a gap year, to trying to follow Jesus where ever he led, and whatever that looked like.
I can’t claim it has been easy, some of it really hasn’t, but in all of it I would say God has been faithful, he’s never let me go, and I haven’t drowned, although at times I have felt a bit like I’ve struggled to keep my head above water.
Today at a wet and windy New Wine, it’s easy to feel like wouldn’t it be great to be surrounded by a huge crowd of really fired up white hot young Christians who want to transform the world for Jesus.
Yet this morning I was sat I the morning meeting listening to Danielle Strickland speak on our desire for comfort in our lives, in our callings.
She had this vivid dream of going into a room and being bitten by a spider, the spider bite makes her sleepy and she lies down and falls asleep and these spiders come and eat her and kill her. She freaked out a bit by this dream, as I think I would if that were me, and asked God for an interpretation for the dream, the interpretation was that its easy to get infected with apathy and complacency, we become too much at home in our cultures, blending in when we are called to stand out, and slowly the comfort will spiritually cause us not get not only sleepy but to spiritually die.
Her challenge was to wake up.
Her challenge for us was to feel the pain rather than run from it.
The pain keeps us spiritually awake whereas comfort can kill us.
Being pain free is dangerous…
Too often we try and shield our congregations and brothers and sisters in Christ from pain, yet often it is in the pain that the blessing is held.
Leporacy is an illness often mentioned in the Bible, a disease that stops you feeling pain, a disease that is horrific and debilitating.
In our normal lives we offer people painkillers for every ache and ailment, and we want to often self medicate all challenge, and discomfort from our lives, we perhaps too in Churches offer the pain-killers around anaesthetising ourselves and others with distractions that keep us from engaging with a hurting world, dealing with a thorny issue, making a sacrifice, accepting a challenge, carrying a burden or meting God in an unexpected place.
Why not me?
Lord. Let me not be distracted by self pity and let me not hanker after comfort.
Let me embrace you call afresh, even when it lead to places in and of myself I would rather not go (but first I think I need to change out of these wet jeans!)