"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." - Jesus Christ
"And in the spirit of God the fact that you are chosen and blessed and beloved does not mean that others are less so. In fact, the opposite experience unfolds when you discover your belovedness. You have an inner eye that allows you to see the belovedness of other people and call that forth. That's the incredible mystery of God's love. The more you know how deeply you are loved, the more you'll see how deeply your brothers and sisters in the human family are loved, and the more you will love them." -- Henri Nouwen
I have experienced the proverbial "perfect storm" this weekend. A storm that has assaulted me, conspiring to open me up to receive the incredible truth and mystery of God's love, once again.
I spent Friday afternoon to Saturday night with 12 people who have given their lives over to Jesus and to people for Jesus' sake. These amazing people spend their lives giving, serving, teaching, coaching, forgiving, enduring, and praying on God's behalf in this world among all us crazy people. In my 15 months with them, God has used them to "call forth" my belovedness, and I truly feel more beloved and chosen and blessed of God than I ever have before.
So, the first part of the triple-pronged "perfect storm" was being with them, asking them to put down the mantle of responsibility that comes with such a dedicated life of servitude to others and let me and 2 of my friends give, serve, teach, coach, forgive, endure and pray for them. And they did. They exposed their hearts...their fears, failures, shame, desires, hopes, dreams, trials...many with tears. It was a very human weekend with a bunch of real-life superheroes. Each of them had to confront the fact that they are CHOSEN by God to be His friends and representatives on earth, not duty-bound. That they have been APPOINTED by God to go and bear fruit in their lives that will last in this life and eternally, and that it is a gift to them not a responsibility. And they had to swallow that the God supports them in this high honor, that they can ask for ANYTHING in Christ's name, and He will give it to them. What can I say? Anytime the mature in Christ are reminded of who and whose they are, it moves them to their knees in humility and godly desire. I had an "inner eye" as I watched (and couldn't help but participate in) the whole thing, aware that I was watching God summon belovedness from these amazing hearts.
The second prong is pictured in the attached picture. That's Jakin Major. My just turned two year old son. His name means "God Establishes Greatness", and it's more and more obvious that that is exactly what God has done with this boy. We are about to throw a party in honor of his two years of life, and while we are celebrating him, I am secretly accepting the mighty reality that I am deeply loved, exhibited by the incredible gift that this boy is to me. Happy Birthday, buddy!
The final prong of this assault happened this morning. I delivered a talk to several hundred people that I didn't feel very prepared for, in the traditional sense of the word, but accepted the truer reality that I have been through a lifetime of preparation to deliver it. And God told me what to say, once again, as He is faithful in doing every single time in my life. It was on the subject of God's appointed human leaders for His church. And then afterwards, I met a nice man named George who I asked if I could take him to dinner tonight and visit and pray with him, to which he graciously accepted. He found us because he felt he had been blessed with a little extra money, and wanted to give an offering to a church, and had a tough time finding a church that would take his money (which we just couldn't stop laughing out loud about) and finally found someone at our church who would take it. My friend Landon was who he found, George told me, who invited him to worship with us this morning, which he obviously did. Inside I thought, 'How easy God has made it for me today to love and shepherd someone. I am chosen, appointed, and supported in doing my hearts desire.'
Why these unrelated (?) incidents conspired to explode in my life today to remind me of how much I'm loved by God, I'm not sure. But I think it has something to do with God wanting me to see how deeply my brothers and sisters in the human family are loved. And I am grateful.
May I remember when my days pass me by and they appear to be something they are not.