The title most certainly captures my fears in this blind leap of faith that I seem to be in. Especially given my edginess and just how far my theology seems stretched of late.
Then comes a morning like I have just had!
Wow! What an amazing Friday!
Up early, sufficient to attend the local NCS*, in order to hear my friend Anthony Gurley share the story behind his recently released memoir, Deadly Dilemma. You can grab a copy on the middle link below.*
Afterwards, I had the privilege of spending a few precious minutes with my mentor and former Rotarian brother.
I would then need to rush home for a 9:00, "Cabin Talk" with a young 43-year-old who had reached out after reading my blog. We had never met, nor talked, he simply asked for some time.
Fresh on my mind as I unlocked our backyard cabin was the devotional shared at NCS prior to Anthony's presentation. The focus in part upon the fact that Peter and others had fallen asleep on the Mount of Transfiguration:
"Now Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him." Luke 9:32.
That's how I feel at this moment. That is perhaps, that myself and others in the faith have been asleep most of our lives, relative to what seems to be unfolding in this pivotal and very likely transformational moment. I know there are seasons, but this one seems major!
That's a BIG statement coming from a 4th generation Pentecostal, who has seen about everything short of a cold, stiff body raised from the dead. Sure, a couple comatose raised immediately and after one of my meaningful, but relative to Jesus, "Mickey Mouse" prayers.
Don't smack my wrist, I have just never witnessed a stone dead person raised, though I have prayed over three. Not to discount the possibility, as my Ethiopian pastor friend claims to have raised five! Never discount God!!
On top of that, as well my conversation with the aforementioned Rotarian brother, also an NCS'er was still stirring upon my arrival at the cabin. He and I were discussing the unlikelihood that the Father, who was fully manifest in the Christ, would ever be able to withdraw from full engagement, abandoning the life of anyone whom he had hand-crafted in their mother's womb!
Yes, being that "there is no respect of persons with God" (Romans 2:1), why not assume that you and I are womb works as well:
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. For thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvellous are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well." Psalms 139:13-16 NIV.
I believe that's the case with all of us, each bearing the image of the Father in some way, given the unique "piece" of God assigned in our mother's womb! One that is never replicated, all kingdom critical, and each dearly loved.
The theological question comes as to whether one can choose to fully withdraw from the Presence, denying access to the Being who designed the galaxies? That would seem difficult.
All that being said, when my new friend arrived, I was equally stunned that within minutes he had brought up some of the very same thoughts as above. Again, he had simply read some of my daily blogs and felt that I might be safe with his thoughts.
"Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good." - C.S. Lewis' Narnia
Why should I then be safe? "Orthodox" the word used to keep us safe, avoiding our deepest and most bizarre thoughts, cautioned of their source.
This young software engineer and I then spent the next two hours discussing our deepest thoughts, some likely to be considered "unsafe" in religious circles, but clearly in the minds of next-gen Christ-followers, many now exiting the church.
In between meetings, I glanced at the writings of another also considered unsafe by many, Friar Richard Rohr:
"It usually takes much of our life to get there; it’s surely what we mean by “growing” in faith. Each soul must learn on its own, hopefully aided by observing other faith-filled people."*
This ancient 75 year old finally had to rushe off to a lunch with a young and very entrepreneurial bi-vocational attorney/pastor, and a newly employed, former corporate leader. This newly employed and equally young leader had just been selected unanimously by a board that I serve on. He would be charged with expanding upon a nonprofit left without it's CEO, due to an unexpected death.
I had being encouraging the previous director before her unexpected death, and her pastor to meet with another well-respected leader in our county. This long time partner in the faith is well-known and trusted as a Christ-follower, one deep in the trenches of social impact. What a sense of timing felt by all!
Here I sit as the day now approaches the 4:00 hour, processing my morning, given what seems in some way to have brought me full circle in my ministry calling, portions of which I have pursued since 1978.
Some of those pursuits had felt lost in my shuffle through five critical service sectors!
Ha! God was simply awaiting the right moment for providence to show her hand, after what for the last few months weeks have felt like a long, abyss-like descent, while still believing the journey held promise. So, I stayed the course, with multiple dominoes falling in one morning!
God is so good, though not always safe.
Follow anyway, it's exciting! I'll keep you posted!