Thank you my “tenured friend” for unabashedly communicating the reality that the core of the gospel is risky, messy, fractal not linear and– tied together with bows of ambiguity– a path we often try to avoid. But as you have said, there is no following Jesus without a willingness to experience hollow moments or anxious swirling eddies while pursuing those we treasure. Our Messiah wasn’t passive. That’s for sure. Love you Seth.
God is a Father Who Wants His Family Back
I’m a bundle of contradictions. On the one hand I’m mercy-driven. And on the other, I enjoy watching these justice/revenge-focused movies like Taken. What’s up with that?
Maybe it’s just my brokenness showing, but before you judge me, consider that maybe it’s because I reflect God’s image. Yes, we’re used to thinking about a meek and mild Jesus, but at times he probably looked more like Liam Neeson on a rampage.
Maybe the Gospel would seem more like good news if we understood that God is a father who wants his family back. He is not confused about it – he is mounting rescue operations around the world where his children are chained in dark places.
Let me tell you what it feels like as a father to lose a family member. Karen and I once lost our daughter Estie in a Juarez slum when she was six. We drove out of the slum in six vans thinking she was in one. And when we arrived and discovered she wasn’t with us, I about went crazy.
We raced back to slum. All the while I was thinking: “How could we have been so careless? Where could she have gone? Had she been kidnapped? What should we do?”
Terrible thoughts flashed in my mind’s eye before at last we found her. She had gotten distracted playing with the kitten that she saw. I saw up close that losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. I was ready to do anything to get her back.
Last night I got a text – three World Race girls in Honduras hadn’t reported in for 24 hours. I had the same thoughts I’d had when Estie was lost – I went to Defcon 6 in a few seconds. What to do? Were they lost, in danger, or just irresponsible?
Should we call the parents? We decided to do so. If we were their parents we’d want to know.
When we found out they were OK not long afterward, we all felt a wash of relief.
And today, I’m thinking, “This is how God feels all the time.” Yes, he’s all-powerful and could snap his fingers and change everything. But he’s committed himself to working through humans. He urgently wants us to go and find his family. That’s what Jesus’ Great Commission is about.
It feels like David and his men felt when they returned to their encampment at Ziklag, and discovered that “the Amalekites had attacked Ziklag and burned it, and had taken captive their families.” (1 Samuel 30:1-2)
Those of you parents who have lost a small child know something of the sheer horror that David and his 600 men felt. They were crazed with grief and “wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.”
Sometimes we can reduce Christianity to a “pray the prayer and go to church” religion. It’s so much more.
Wow – Butch, I don’t know anyone who can better illustrate the point of this blog post than you right now. You are fighting for Mikia’s life.
Thanks for your friendship over the years. Life always seems like a fight – I’m glad you’re in it with me.
“He did so because he’s a faithful son who served a father who wanted his family back.” This is my favorite line… my Father in Heaven is the General of all Generals and He sent his warrior Prince Son to rescue me from the depths of evil! My God is good, but He’s not safe!
I just love how you illustrate this!
You have been like a younger brother from the first time I met you. Your heart has always whistled into the wind.