I’m really sad today. There are just too much hurts, too many casualties, too many victims. Job’s own reflection was that “man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward” [not really sure I know what the last part means, but the first part is perfectly clear].
We are all citizens of this fallen world. It seems we go through life like a bull in a china shop.We don’t move very gracefully and we break a lot of things just trying to move through it. No matter how hard we try we always make a mess of it. I’d like to think of it as moving through life sideways. We go through crashing and smashing.
There is no place in the Bible where God promises us a “trouble-free” journey to heaven, a journey without pains, hassles and the problems of life. If you are hearing anything else, I strongly suggest finding another voice to listen to.
“Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. “
— Michael Yaconelli
We all have flawed lives. Everything gets tangled up and messy.
Our very best efforts give us little hope at resolving these things. We are agitated by our personal failure and we often feel God is angry with us. The really hard part is the incessant voices from the sidelines that announce our failures and flaws to everyone. Satan has a cruel and a vicious ministry of hate directed right at you.
These terrible things are redeemed by the Holy Spirit. He loves failures and weaklings. When we finally realize we are flawed, he then places something real into our hearts. In our weakness we finally become strong. We become authentic. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”(Matthew 5:4).
Be kind to everyone today, each person you meet. For all of us are fighting the same battle. Please, be kind.
“In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
Luke 5:12, NLT
Let’s jump right into this passage from Luke 5. A very sick man desires to become well. The Bible text reveals that his condition is agonizingly desperate. His leprosy has advanced; he is covered with it from ‘head-to-toe.’ He is completely infected; he is ‘unclean’ and without hope. There is no treatment for what he has, doctors can do nothing, so he comes to Jesus.
We must emphasize this, the leper has no illusions of wholeness. He knows it; he doesn’t need to be convinced, or persuaded by anyone else. It occurs to him, that Jesus the healer (of lepers, and the like) may provide healing, or at the least a morsel of comfort. This leper approaches the presence of Jesus, with such humility it is almost painful to witness. This man is completely broken; he has no hope, except Jesus.
There is a fellowship of misery–some of us are “card-carrying” members.
Our diseases differ, but they have affected us completely. Our pain, and our darkness vary. Some have physical pain, others have a mental illness. When we meet, there should be a secret handshake or a password. We share a comradeship— we are all part of the same community. We are a broken club of tired and decidedly unclean misfits.
How do we measure our pain and desperate darkness? What do we use to measure it? For the most part, our lives have been destroyed. I think we can understand it by looking up at Jesus. Lying in the dirt, we believe the unbelievable. Our faith doesn’t activate his healing as much it guides it to our greatest need. The presence of Jesus drives away the pain. His love for us echoes into our emptiness. And he wants to do this! He has come for us. He carries us through this.
I struggle with deep depression and despondency. I have been on meds for a long time. But when I come into Jesus’ presence, all this melancholy is driven out. He comes and injects a true hope into my spirit. Am I a stellar example of perfect discipleship? I think not. (My wife could tell you this.) But isn’t about us becoming “angels”, it’s about us becoming intimate with Jesus.
“The power of the Church is not a parade of flawless people, but of a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws. The Church is not made up of whole people, rather of the broken people who find wholeness in a Christ who was broken for us.”
The leper would be healed by the authority (and touch) of Jesus Christ. What is impossible with men, is possible with God.
“Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”And instantly the leprosy disappeared.” (v. 13)
“Nothing in the church makes people in the church more angry than grace. It’s ironic: we stumble into a party we weren’t invited to and find the uninvited standing at the door making sure no other uninviteds get in.
Then a strange phenomenon occurs: as soon as we are included in the party because of Jesus’ irresponsible love, we decide to make grace “more responsible” by becoming self-appointed Kingdom Monitors, guarding the kingdom of God, keeping the riffraff out (which, as I understand it, are who the kingdom of God is supposed to include.)”
— Michael Yaconelli
Often there can be a frustrated hostility simmering just below the veneer of a religious person. It can be seen in sudden outbursts of irritation that seems to come from nowhere. It is often encountered when they feel the ‘spigot of grace’ has been open too long, too much water is being used, and the people are getting a little wild in showing their enthusiasm. “They’re acting like ungodly pagans.”
Regulating the watering hole becomes a compulsion, and a necessary work of the “Church.” Jesus’ love is for all is a confirmed fact, but we must have some standards of decorum and appropriate levels of conduct and respect. “We the keepers-of-the- spigot are called to take some responsibility in this,” we end up saying.
Celebratory shouts of joy are simply not acceptable. Dancing in the mud is way ‘out-of-line.’ But there is an outrageous element to grace. It is preposterous and disturbing. It is untamed and wild, and not at all logical. “We definitely prefer the thinking side of our faith,” we say.
Judas rebuked Jesus as he was getting a foot massage from the ungodly woman. She had no business to be there in the first place. And secondly, she has just poured this incredible fortune on the feet of Jesus! Judas said, “way out-of-line!” But there is a irrepressible love that always pushes its way forward.
For those of us who have first experienced God’s love and grace we must keep an alert out for our hard hearts. First, He is in charge of how the water is utilized. Second, [and we MUST believe this] when a man or woman connect with the water, there can be spontaneous displays of joy!
We must change our thinking, e.g. repent, and insist that we ‘cease and desist’. Our attitude is not acceptable or true to the Spirit of Christ. We are the ones way “out-of-line” and we have not been good witnesses about his grace and love. We had better turn from this sin, and ask Jesus to free us again.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32