When I was a young man I did a lot of foolish things. I grew up in an era of fast cars and bikes and I pushed the limits everywhere I went. I caused myself and others a lot of pain. Racing, illegal stunts and more. (One of my dumbest was showing off to friends in the middle of a busy road. Pulling a wheelie in front of the restaurant where my friends were, I thought I “had it”. But I did not count on the car pulling out of the right hand road. I was forced to come down hard, and while I was able to be on the top of the bike, it was headed towards a moving tractor trailer that had pulled out of the “entrance” of a business. I was trapped and as I went under the trailer, I thought, “this could be it”. Moments later I was on the other side and my pride was relatively in tact as I yelled at the drivers. My handlebars were bent but I was able to drive home. Some years later I came to the conclusion that it was dumb and I was the wrongful party. ) I had accidents, court appearances and pain over my foolishness.
But I kept right on doing it.
And isn’t that the case? Too often we “keep right on doing” it because we have not seen another way. For me I grew up seeing that if I could not get attention one way perhaps the “bad boy” route would work. Many years later as I spent three months in a hospital, I churned these things over in my mind. I was in my mid 20’s and something had to change. I had just lost a relationship, my daughter and everything I had worked for.
Yesterday I spoke to someone I had known for a number of years but it was only yesterday that he and I realized we had lived in the same town some 35 years ago! One of the conversations was about a man, who when I originally met him was well in his 60’s. One of our coolers in our new store needed some work. He was recommended. He came down and went downstairs to check the electricity. He unscrewed a light bulb, licked his finger and touched the socket, “yep, it’s live” he said.
Too often in my life, I worked life like that. I knew something to be true. Even when it held potential danger. (Driving fast, drinking, drugging, bad company, etc..) And then went right ahead and did it!
So much of what I have watched in the church has been like that. And I want to see us change, to be better.
- We know it to be true. We know healing is the children’s bread. We know that we have the power to heal, to deliver. And yet so often we look for a Plan B.
- We recognize the danger. To develop a Plan B usually never ends well. At best, we fell faithless, immature.
- We go right ahead anyhow. We limit ourselves because of our knowledge, our faith, our trust and do what we have always done.
We see that something works in the kingdom and we keep doing it. We become enamored with the method and not the person of Jesus Christ. And then one day it “stops” working the way it always did. But we keep pushing. Hoping and believing. And here is where it becomes painful. Too many men and women in the “need” to keep something going begin to justify the lack of response. (I was in a church where if you were sick you were doing something sinful and if you did not get healed it was lack of faith. Can anyone say “condemnation”?) And there have been many who have gone past this place ending up in illegal activities, false reporting and more.
There is a BETTER WAY. It is more than “His name is Jesus”. I understand that. But it is time for the body to begin to see that they have value and take that value and apply it to lives. Value given by God. Not just their own but the lives of those about them. To help those who struggle to see a new way. One that creates a spark of change. For me, it began to happen as I sat in a hospital and a nurse Diane, took me under her wing and began to break open some truths about myself. I am not sure if she was a believer, but I am sure of the impact. She forced me to look at myself and the steps that had brought me there. Oh, I was still “miles” from the kingdom, but I was moving and on the road. (Slow progress is progress…)
I think about this a lot as I look around. So much in the church body needs to examine their thinking and make a decision. If I truly believe His ways are higher than my own, ought I not begin to look to the wisdom in Him? And see what can be changed?
For too many life is a series of events. Events can be good and events can be bad. It is less about the event and more about how we walk through the event. And then there is the thinking of what do we do “between events”.
I got up off my fallen motorcycle with multiple thoughts. They included fixing the bike, talking to my parents, learning to wheelie better and more carefully and choosing less crowded roads. Some of that thinking is good. Some…not so much. I fixed my bike. Lied to my parents. Bragged to my friends. Wheelied and got caught more than one time again.
At the root of it I was looking to do what others did better. To be seen. To be known. But more importantly, other than being told “that was stupid. Don’t do it again,” no one really gave me a better way. Another thought process.
I want my friends and family to discover all that God has to provide to give them a better way, even the usage of others in their lives to help them walk differently. To move the feelings of inadequacy aside and see the way to a better choice. Too often I find the issue is not unwillingness to change, but more often how to change. I get that, as well.
Ask yourself simply and gently, “is this working”. If yes, great. But if it does not “match” what your belief is for something great, then consider that you may need to change some things. I do not deny that God can change something in an instant, but what if there are changes in you that are required for the next steps? And that is the rub. For me, a line of broken relationships, broken vehicles and great loss was my starting point. But even in that until I was provoked to “there is a better way” I could not see it or imagine it.
One final piece. This week while in a class I said to the instructor, “I do not get it. I am a dinosaur.” He encouraged me that I was doing great. His words were encouraging but the proof was in the pudding. So far I am not eating pudding. But I am asking for the recipe of others.