Tuesday, November 23, 2004


God Dares Us To Live

No matter how weird I believe God's teaching is, it's tame compared to what
He really offers. The first dare I got was to read the first chapter of
Ephesians and figure out what Paul's theme was. This took me a few days
because the main idea of this chapter was simply unbelievable: God cares
about us.

That fit the theme of the first messages I heard Erwin speak at Mosaic:
"One Un-Believable Life." The theme there was that God knew me, had
designed me from the get-go, knew what I needed, and wanted me to live the
life He intended. The bait was irresistible. No matter what the hook was
like it had to be better than what I had.

An outside watcher would have thought my life was perfect. A good job, time
to be creative, some good friends. I still wanted to quit. What I had
wasn't enough to make me want to get up in the morning. So, I grabbed onto
the bait Erwin offered on some sort of hope that I'd find something to make
getting up worthwhile.

I haven't found that yet, but the scent is getting stronger. I believe I'm
on the right track. This is God's doing; He has guided me with an
interesting series of hints and nudges provided at just the right time. I'm
hard to teach because I've been burned so many times. I don't just buy any
answer right off the truck. I test it, look at it, use it and make small
steps before really trusting it.

God dares me to let Him support me when things go wrong. He dares me to
lean back on Him and trust that He cares enough not to let me fall. He
dares me to look into the future and think about what I might do there,
rather than just drift along one aimless day at a time. He dares me to quit
worrying about the future; if I miss one exit, He'll provide another. He
dares me to let Him be a friend.

Why is this a dare? Because you can't spend time with the God of the
Universe without being changed. His is an expansive universe, rather than
the narrow, tight little thing I've lived in all these years while limited
to my own resources. God dares me to let Him give me all kinds of resources
to live in a way I've never conceived, a way of richness and detail, beauty
and grace.

It's a dare because it's difficult. I will fail at times, mainly because I
get scared and run away. It's a dare because God's world is huge and full
of things I've never seen before. It's full of love, which I don't
understand at all. It's full of generosity, things given to me that are
more valuable than anything else, given just because that's who God is. He
loves to give me what I need. He wants me to take more.

When I got home from work today there was a leaflet stuck in the doorjamb.
"Comfort for the Depressed." Depression is something I know in detail. The
pamphlet offered the usual platitudes: "Go for a walk. Talk to a friend who
is understanding." And it suggested that others talk consolingly to the
depressed one. It wound up by saying that God promises to wipe away every
tear. There is no mention in the whole thing of how Jesus sacrificed
Himself to bring us back to God.

God dares me to let go of depression. This starts from the basic fact that
God knows my every foible and weakness. He knows I'm easily dissuaded, hard
to direct, that I avoid confrontation like the plague and have no love for
anyone. Still, He values me enough to remind me of why Jesus had to give
His life. The Sinless One died for me, and that shows just how much God
values me. That's a big-time dare: how can I believe I'm useless when God
wants a relationship with me that much?

Life starts there. Restoration to status as God's child. The rest is a
wild-ass dare. "Do you believe Me enough to follow Me? You don't have to be
strong. You don't have to be completely convinced. You don't have to
believe everything I say, and you can test every piece of it, everything I
show you, until you're convinced."

But we know God. We know He's easily angered, impatient with us,
approachable only with great ritual. It's even better if someone else does
the approaching so that if lightning strikes it misses me. We're sure of
this. We say we believe, and then we just live in the same platitude-laden
way that the Jehovah's Witness tract suggests. Human-based solutions.

It starts with salvation, and then it gets better. We fail because of a
lack of resources. We're just not strong enough. So, God gives us the Holy
Spirit. He brings power, boldness, truth and a witness to God's love. He
lives in me and guides my thoughts, if I ask Him to. I know you're thinking
that I've gone off the deep end, that I'm a weakling who has to lean on God
as a crutch. You're entitled to your opinion, but you can't see the truth
until you've seen it from the inside.

Saying that God is a crutch is like saying a jet airplane is a crutch when
you're flying to Hong Kong. You can't get there on your own resources. One
way or another the trip requires help. Where God wants us to go requires
His help every second of the day. Where we're made to go is with Him, and
He has made it possible.

It's a dare. How weird do I want to be? Every time I think I'm out on the
edge, God beckons me onward from someplace beyond, farther along. My life
is growing bigger. Depression really can be cured, and the God of the
Universe is the only person who cares enough and has the subtle strength to
do it.

All those verses we gloss over about casting our cares upon Him? They're
true. That's what God really wants. How's that for weird? Whatever you
dream, God is out there way ahead of you, ready to give more.

2004 November 23 (for Blog and WEM)

Some excellent words. Thanks for sharing what God's talking to you about.

I came here by way of Sandra's blog (who's blog i came by way of another friend Jen.)There are a couple rather unrelated thoughts I have, maybe because of the time here. First, very cool sculptures. That's just amazing. Second, enjoy California for me. I lived in Huntington Beach for two years up till August of this year, and miss it greatly. Third, I hope Mosaic is treating you well. I'm part of a Mosaic plant church in Arlington Texas. (mosaicarlington.org - site needs a lot of work)

Hoping for good things in the next leg of your journey with God.
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