I once had a hero. He was a 15 year old boy who was a freakishly good drummer and singer. He loved and respected his parents. He was positive and joyfilled. He loved people and had a very intelligent mind in relationships and thought. I now have a 21 year old hero. This man has grown into an absolute legend and I have just returned from sitting with him and chatting for a couple of hours over hommous, bread and chicken chips.
I like conversations that aren’t a competition, but more a shared review, within which both parties take things away. We quickly journeyed through what each of us had been doing of late, he’s a social work degree holding chaplain/welfare officer who is currently playing music in a sweet folk hip hop band. He had worked in radio in a similar position I had been and so we shared music stories, and people stories and God stories. We touched on conversations he had had throughout uni and during his prac times. We shared thoughts on what we were learning about the world including topics commonly found uncomfortable in some church circles. A space comfortable to process the uncomfortable. Two main ones came out.
What did Jesus think when faced with societal undesirables.
Gods love that entices us into trusting him when he calls us to uncomfortable positions.
I’ve already written a little bit on the first one and I will revisit it soon, but the second was really well illustrated by a story he told.
He had gone to sleep like many other nights before, but had woken around 2am to an uncomfortable restlessness and a sense that God wanted him to get up and go outside and speak to the first person he saw. He instinctively began to excuse the feeling, blaming his restlessness on gas, arguing that it was unsafe outside at such an hour and continued to roll around, awake. God led him to at least get out of bed and pray. He knelt at his bedside, now fully clothed in his hoodie. As he quickly prayed God gave him a verse ‘Go out to the streets and invite people to my banquet’. So up he got and walked out to the cool streets. Seeing the first person on the street, he walked the opposite way. Finding a group of 5 come out of another house, he felt God guide him away from danger, but towards the city. As he walked towards the city, up walks the first guy he had originally avoided.
‘Do you have a smoke’, he drunkenly asked my friend. Crossing the street, the two men then stood in the early morning of this tiny country town and my friend listened to an almost rant of racial discrimination and hopelessness. So in response he began to speak life into this guy including mentioning how he thought God may have lead him there, not knowing if anything was going in, he took a tiny bit of solace that if God got him out of bed for this, maybe something would come of it. Still uncomfortable, and later finding out that that man had been earlier dropped off by the cops, we returned home second guessing if he had shared what God wanted him to share.
Days later, my friend was invited to a mans breakfast, at which was the guy he met on the street. During the breakfast the man off handedly mentioned that the almost two hour conversation had most assuredly saved his life that night.
I hear and experience similar stories often. Stories of Gods specific guidance for humanity to join the adventure of redeeming the world. The gospels are full of Jesus, being guided by his father into unknown crazy situations and Jesus, knowing his fathers love, trusts and says yes. In most of the stories i see and tell of similar ilk always features words like ‘but i was like nope’ or ‘it took God a few minutes to get my attention’ or ‘i didn’t want to do it but i did’ and usually, it seems like there is a pre-thought of ‘I didn’t really trust God so I…’
But if God was an angry God who hated us, why would he lead us at all? Why wouldn’t he fry us at our first sign of nervousness. Now Im not voting that we don’t obey, quite the opposite. But how much quicker would we say yes if we trusted God above everything else? What would happen with my friend if he said yes straight away and got out of bed and went straight to the first person? How would the whole world change if we didn’t wait for God to wake us up in the middle of the night but craved him to guide us every day.
God loves us, he wants the best for us but sometimes our mistrust of God is fueled by the filter over our ears. In Australia we often hear things in a rejected way, so when God asks us to do certain things we sometimes hear his beautiful loving voice as a commanding bully. Our love and trust is turned into fear and rejection, it keeps us in bed, it keeps us hiding, it keeps us apathetic to the struggles of the oppressed. But if we get rid of those filters, and put ourselves in places God can use us…
Being uncomfortable is good. Especially when we are guided into it by a God that loves us.
So how do we get good at being comfy with being uncomfortable?
We say yes?
Its a start, knowing that when we do, God then has amazingly cool room to use us for crazy fun stuff.
This was the best Christmas Eve ever. Big shout out to Mr H.
Check out some of the stuff he’s doing – http://www.facebook.com/weatherpermitting it is great. and get back to me with stories anyone reading this. I want to hear more cool stories about God taking you to adventurous and uncomfy places.