The Answer

March 11, 2009 at 8:08 pm (1)

We’re the body of Christ. Am I right?

I think God answers prayers I really do.Love I don’t think we even need to speak them. I think we just need to admit them to ourselves. I think God gives us what we need. I think if we pray selflessly and honestly, those prayers will be answered. Which most likely explains my lacking in the pony department.

I’m talking about the things that no people should go without. My God is a God that brings people out of slavery. Who gives people the unconditional expression of love they so deserve. We can even take our share of the inheritance, turn our backs on Him, and run away to far away lands of sex and secrets, and when we realize what we’ve done wrong, we can walk right back through the door to a feast in our honour, because my God is a God that rejoices in all His children. Its amazing, isn’t it? That despite the pain we’ve caused Him, despite the pain we’ve caused ourselves, despite the pain we’ve caused the people around us, despite the time we’ve wasted … God is always working through us if we choose to let Him.

This book has a few stories that really resonated with me. I know “resonated” is pretty vague, but has to be, because I don’t really know WHAT the did to my heart, but they did something.

One of the stories was about a little girl named Connie. Connie attended a church, but always felt like she was more of a witness to faith than a participant of it. She felt this way because she had a very hard time reading, and her words were not clear at all when she spoke. There came a time, though, when she finally mustered up enough courage to ask the pastor if she would be allowed to read scripture in the church. Of course, the pastor said yes.

When the time came, Connie inched up to the front of the Church, and took a few uncomfortable steps up to the front of the church, because one leg was shorter than the other and it was hard for her to walk so far. The congregations discomfort began to build as the did their best not to notice the plethora of things that were “wrong” with Connie. Her eyes, her neck, her legs … and then she began to read.

She barely made it through, and the congregation’s silence was masking their outrage. The elders of the church called the pastor to an emergency meeting, simply to tell him that the church is no place for “incompetence”.

Can I be totally honest now? They lied. It is. Frankly, I think the church is no place for too much competence.

Connie had been praying for so long for a connection. She wanted so badly to be a friend of God, and she didn’t know she only needed to realize that she already was. Thank God that Connie didn’t notice the congregation’s judgement.

Connie left the altar with a look of absolute joy and love and Godliness on her face. Her pastor had answered her prayer.

This story hit me even harder.

Darryl helped out a lot at the church with the youth group. He was just that kind of a guy. The youth group went every month to an old folks home to host a worship service for them, but Darryl never went. He had an understandable phobia of old folks homes (they CAN be a little bit overwhelming). He finally agreed to come and help out, as long as he didn’t have to be part of the program.

He sat at the back between two people in wheel chairs. When it was time to leave, he wanted to make a quick getaway, but something changed his mind. Someone grabbed his hand, and held on. Darryl looked over to see a frail old man holding his hand. The man’s face held no expression, and his mouth hung open in exhaustion from his life.

Darryl found that he didn’t want to leave. Everyone else was leaving though, so he said to the old man “I’m really sorry… but I have to go. I’ll be back though. I promise. I love you”

He didn’t really know where that last part came from. He didn’t know why he said it, but he meant it. He came back for months and months, eventually learning that the man’s name was Oliver Leak. Darryl held Oliver’s hand every month. One month though, Oliver didn’t come out to the service, so Darryl asked if he was okay. He was brought to Oliver’s room to find him lying in his bed, unable to move after suffering from a number of strokes. Darryl held his hand, and got no response. Darryl Wept.

He said… I’m sorry Oliver. I have to leave no. And Oliver squeezed his hand.

At that point Darryl was obviously uncontrollable as he walked towards the door in tears, and he almost bumped into a young woman waiting outside the door.

The girl spoke to him.

“I’m Oliver’s granddaughter. The nurses told me you’ve been coming to see him every month. The doctor’s said he’s too tired to talk, but he talked to me a couple of times. One time, he told me that when he dies to say goodbye to Jesus for him. I told him that he didn’t have to say goodbye to Jesus because he was going to be with Him now. And he said he knows that, but that Jesus has been coming to visit him every month for almost a year, and he might not know he’s gone.”

Love

There’s a certain kind of faith growing inside of me, and it looks a lot like Oliver’s.

Oliver was so aware and convinced of Christ’s presence on earth today, and of Christ’s love for him today, that he was scared to die.

Because he didn’t want to leave Jesus behind.

Christ is here. In you and me, and we are his body to do his work. You stop wondering why he said “You will do even greater things than I”, and you start wondering when you can get started doing them.

I’m reading this book.

Its called Messy Spirituality and its by the late Michael Yaconelli.

I’m taking the year off next year from school, so to start, I can’t even tell you how badly I needed to hear from this guy.

This profoundly intelligent man was in ministry for over 40 years, both as a pastor and a youth pastor, he wrote this fantastic book, along with a couple others, and he’s sold out on Christ in a way that you can just see in a person and admire. And my favourite part … he doesn’t have a degree. In anything. At all. He would soooo never get a job in a united church. Which in itself is a reason that he’s wicked cool. I can say that because I work at a united church.

I’ve been struggling so much lately with being in a school, and whether I see it as an obligation or if I have a choice to be there. Only recently have I realized that there are plenty of ways for me to sustain a living in this world, and I certainly don’t need a bachelor of music degree to get it done. More importantly, a person is worth more than any degree they have or don’t have. I’ve realized, as obvious as it seems, that I don’t need a degree for my parents or my friends to love me. I don’t need a degree for Jesus to love me. I’ll probably get one, but who cares.

My purpose. A degree? No. A musician? No. I know something now. Its all about Jesus. Live it. Love it. Do it. Use whatever passions and talents and gifts you have. Its all we were born to do. Nothing else matters.

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