“Lord rebuke me not in anger, let my spirit be restored.
Let your mercy, without measure, help and peace to me afford.
Heavy is my tribulation, sore my punishment has been;
Broken by your indignation, I am haunted by my sin.
I am prone to halt and stumble, grief and sorrow dwell within;
Shame and guilt my spirit humble. I am sorry for my sin.
Lord, my God, do not forsake me, let me know that you are near!
Under your protection take me, as my Savior now appear.”
Psalm 38 adaptation
Similar to Andrew Osenga’s “Too Far To Walk”
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I did what I planned to do
And I feel like I knew I would feel
And I want to come back to you
My mind is thick and it’s dirty, my heart it ran to hide
My plans proved I don’t know what I’m doing
Becuase I used to feel alive
There’s an angel on my left shoulder
And ten devils on my right
Jesus you’ll have to come get me
Because it’s too far to walk tonight
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, how can I explain
These promises scattered on the floor by the bed
Like dinner-clothes after a date
I get scared that forgiveness is for better people
So I give up trying to fight
Jesus you’ll have to come get me
Because it’s too far to walk tonight.”
God has a way of changing your vision of other people. This is more a vision of the heart that he gives you the longer you know him and the more you see your foolishness. There are some seasons or even just days where I can see people clearly, then other times when I cannot see or hear at all. I start judging and think I know what type of person someone is; I put them in a box and think I can define them. But going through some “life” with them, for example, a 10 day trip to the grand canyon or 9 months of being roomates, and those people you thought you had figured out don’t fit in your box anymore.
This is especially true of people you and I might label “nobodies.” Think of people at church or at school who were never very talented in their classes, at music, in sports, and often can still be insecure in front of certain crowds. The thing we always forget is that there are levels; there is a crowd out there that would embarrass even those of us who think we are talented or worth something. There is always a striving inside of us to up our station in life and hang with the more talented crowd. The somebodies.
This isn’t how God sees it at all. A couple of verses:
Luke 16: 15And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
2 Cor 10:12
“But when they measure themselves with one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding”
1 Cor 1:
“26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.”
God is choosing to use weak “nobodies” in the eyes of the world to do his work. He is picking that girl at church who is terrible on the microphone or the awkward friend who ruins conversations or the guy who just won’t shut up. He is picking those of us who know we need help, and he is using the nobodies to make the somebodies into nothing. If there is any Christian with pride in himself, that is a problem, and if he is to continue growing in the Lord, God is going to have to smash that out of him. The only man who boasts can boast confidently in the Lord. If he boasts in himself, his foolishness will lead him to destroy himself again and again. It’s happened to me.
Some say that winter is about sitting and learning and that summer is about growing and doing. For me, that is true and it happens through travel. My summer has been:
June 16-27: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
July 8-16: Charleston, South Carolina
July 21-Aug 9: DC, Madrid, London, Norfolk, Cambridge, Bryanston, DC
Aug 12-17: Memphis
What a summer. Biggest highlight included heavy DC traffic ::: missing check in for my KLM flight to Amsterdam by 10 minutes at Dulles, although still 50 minutes prior to the flight. I was denied entry and lost the full value of my ticket. I retreated to Daniel’s appartment in despair, and for three days fought a mental battle about whether this was God’s way of telling me: not supposed to be at Iwerne ministry
Don’t care so much about money, bite the bullet, buy another ticket and go.
So I went. Worth it.
A quick list of major generosity that I’ve seen or experienced since 2006: (to be added to)
- Wally’s house (pizza, casa mia’s, boating, busch gardens, all of it!)
- All the folks that cooked us food over the weekends at camp willow run
- The young teacher who came by my classroom on the first day of teaching and gave me all of her old files so that I could steal her ideas
- Pete putting in my shelves and folding my clothes for me while my life was chaos at public school
- Friend who buys a lot of extra chocolate milk from the store just to hand them out if anyone wants one
- Roomates who fold your laundry
- Ryan giving me 100 dollars to help pay for my missed international flight
- The Brits giving me 250 £ to help pay for my missed international flight
Pay it forward.
Written in April 2010
“Have you ever met a person with so many issues that you know there is no way you could help them effectively over the long term if you tried. This person is so far away from landing on their feet that you know you can’t take the time to walk with them, even though you should wish them well or give them money for pity. To help them would take a personal counselor to come in and be with them all the time, to coach them through every hour of their day, to help them make better decisions and stop destroying what’s good. It’s a personal life coach. There is no way any of us would ever do this for another person without getting paid. Many of my students needed love like this. Yet this is only an ounce of the love that God has for us. His patience with our rebellion and sedition knows no limits. He chose us to rescue us as we spat in his face, dug insults into his ears, laughed at him with the crowd, and all because we were too afraid to speak up for what we actually thought: that we love him too. The world is too much with us.”