218. God Usually Doesn’t Give Us All The Details. He Gives Us Direction.

Guess who’s back…back again.

Me and a fellow educator started this thing a while back and it feel away from us as things do..but we recently decided to start back up again – and this time to start over with a new book. Called, “Love in Grace, Walk in Love” by Bob Goff. I’ll post the verses and talk about what Bob’s sharing in the entry along with my reaction and engagement with it. Sometimes it’ll be pages long explication, other days it may just be, “That was brilliant, Bob.” Somehow I’ll draw a connection back to my classroom and wham bam, Bob’s (not Goff, just a generic Bob) your uncle. Ready? Here we go.

The verse is below –

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

The thing about living a life as a Christian is that there is this illusion preached by some that life is just unicorns and rainbows when you give your life to Christ. A variation on that is the “Prosperity Gospel” idea that if you believe and give money and sit in the seat in front of the obnoxiously shiny preacher, you’ll prosper, have lots of money, and live the life you “deserve”. I have news for those charlatans – we deserve death, destruction, and damnation. This guy named Jesus showed up to stop that, and threw himself bloodied and bleeding onto a cross in which the entirety of the world’s sin was thrust upon his holy shoulders which had to push the pain levels to at least 11 if not more.

The point is, He died for us. We are saved from destruction and damnation by His sacrifice. We now are charged to live a life of love, of hope, of mercy, of grace, of a servant heart, and of everything Christ was in his short thirty three years on this maddening green and blue ball. He doesn’t promise the riches. He promises the last will be first. Those who help the needy, the hurting, the suffering – the ones who cry out for justice, for life, and for hope. He didn’t call us to live a rich lifestyle with shiny preachers, and banging sound systems.

Goff suggests in today’s entry that, “Faith can be a bit like a scavenger hunt”. He points out that, “It’s not a business trip God has invited us on – it’s an adventure.” I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines from “The Lion the Witch, and the Wardrobe” – when they’re speaking of Aslan.

“Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Mr. Beaver in “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”

An adventure is very rarely safe. Just ask Bilbo Baggins as he scrambled out of Hobbiton on a madcap journey with a bunch of Dwarves. Goff reminds us that God has a plan – but we’re not privy to the step by step directions with full pictures and citations. There is a moment in this entry that I love – where Goff talks about as we go on the search, we build those, “common experiences, relationships, {and} community.” We can’t do the journey alone – we need our people. Our ride or dies. In the going from step to step following His direction we explore and experience the world community around us – we must be active participants. God didn’t send His only Son to die on a cross so we could sit back and enjoy the lazy river. God gave you life to live, to love, and to shake that groove thing while you move. Life isn’t meant to be a passive experience. It’s meant to be an experience lived in through life. So get up off that thing, and dance.

I think if I ever met Bob Goff, I’d want to never stop hugging him – if today’s entry is any indication of future entries, I’ll probably be restating this desire over and over. The message in this entry isn’t pretty. It speaks to the frustrations of following God’s plan but only knowing the part you’re in at the moment – that’s a messy thing. Because that begets anxiety, stress, frustration – the things that slow us down from following God’s direction, will, and plan. It’s not easy working through those things, but it is a thing we have, nay, we must do in order to keep moving through our journey in Christ.’

Goff closes, in part, saying this –

“God already told us His plan for us is to give away love like we’ll never run out. He said He wants us to look for people who are lonely, or hurting and hold them close the way He holds us. He said He wants love and grace to be the lens through which we see the world.”

Bob Goff, “Love in Grace, Walk in Love” Entry 218

As a teacher, this entry hits hard, fast, and deep – leaving a bitter wound that challenges me to see my students differently, to see my coworkers different, and to see my community differently. In the midst of the pandemic there is so much we can be doing as followers of Christ in our world through service, love, and following the examples of our Saviour.

Lots to think on, lots to marinate in, and eventually bake into the heart, mind, and soul.

Give Grace, Live in and with Love, Overflow with Compassion and Care to all, and Mire in Mercy.

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