After watching the Kansas City News story unfold, I'm more confident than ever...Our World Is Spinning Out Of Control.
How in the world in 2014 do we see someone willing to take a weapon against an ethnic group, an elderly home, or for that matter ANYONE?
Haven't we figured out how to get out of this vicious cycle of hate?
I guess it's a naive presupposition to think humanity can come so far technologically that we still have to 'battle' it out. But when I take a look under the surface of my own prejudices, I'm faced with the horror of similar views in my own heart.
I mean, I'm not packing heat to gun someone down, but the fear laying just below the surface in my own self needs to be dealt with, somehow. The fear of loss. The fear of insignificance. The fear of rejection. All these things made whole somehow by hitching my pride filled wagon to some crazy train of violence.
Sure, I can hearken back to scripture and know that "All things work together for the good for those who love God." (Romans 8:28) But the reality is, I'm not sure if I even know what good comes of a man willing to shoot someone at an Ethnic Jewish Center. What good is to come of that?
Or take my conversation today with a Father who is grappling with a sick child. How is God working for the good of THAT family?
Or what about my friends who live across the Ocean subjected to a government that treats them unfairly? Where is God in their situation? They love Him just as much as anyone I know.
I think we have this un-realistic view here in America that plays out like, "If I just do the things that God has asked me to do, He'll bless me, keep me healthy, and make sure life unfolds in my way. And if I decide to go against God, He'll punish me."
Last week I had a chance to talk with a family who has teenagers. They've been longing for the day they don't have to worry about their kids making wrong decisions. (and believe me, the wrong decisions already stacked up would make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.)
They're a wonderful Family.
They Love God with all their hearts.
They give to the local church, have their kids in Christian School, and help their neighborhood.
They're the typical American dream kind of family.
But their teenagers are going WILD!!
And that's when my paradigm begins to shift.
Instead of thinking that God is the Genie willing to grant the wishes you desire according to your own obedience, maybe this 'Out of Control' world is just the place He wants us, as CRAZY as it is.
He wants us to work through this wild, seemingly out of control, unrealistic expectation of a perfect life, and work through the suffering we see on the news. And what's more, He doesn't want us to harbor bitterness, anger, hate, or even begin to dwell in the arena of retaliation.
The Bible says, "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8)
We quote that verse, but do we really mean it?
Have we REALLY considered EVERTYHING a loss?
Have we considered our family as a loss to know Jesus?
Have we considered our health as a loss to know Jesus?
Have we considered our economic situation a loss to know Jesus?
Have we considered our political affiliation a loss to know Jesus?
Have we considered our fears of people who think different than we do a loss to know Jesus?
Can we really say "I consider them all garbage, that we might gain Jesus?"
I really like my family.
I really like my job.
I really like my life.
I like my theological system I think is right.
I feel comfortable in the arena I've chosen to live, and I truly believe God will bless.
Sometimes, I can even say I like my fears, I like my doubts, and I like the places that are confusing.
Sometimes, I hold on to those things because they're safe. But if I'm really honest with my re-definition of this Christian Worldview, I'm called to give all those things away for the sake of knowing Jesus more intimately.
I guess this is all coming from a place when I sat with my friends in the Garden of Gethsemane a few months ago. Jesus gave up all His earthly fears, His Hope, and even His standing in the community to endure one of the most crazy-out of control weeks of His life here on earth.
The Scripture says it was so traumatic, He sweat drops of blood in anguish and agony. "Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me" He uttered. And when He turned around to see if anyone was with Him, they were all asleep. The world was literally spinning out of control for the one who made it and controls it. What do you do with that?
He faced it.
Not promised to get out of the craziness of the world, but filled with hope the Kingdom of God was good and it was going to reconcile the craziness-Someday.
He gave it all.
I guess, if I want to walk like Jesus walked, I need to face these things and be ready to endure my loss with the same hope that filled Jesus--Mainly a Hope that All Things Will Be Made New. When I see the world in all its crazy, and take inventory of my own crazy fear filled heart, I cling today to the one who endured the crazy more intense than I will ever have to.
Today, I follow Jesus.