Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Revolution, part one

The word "revolution" (based on findings at wordnet.princeton.edu) can be defined as "a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving."

Our popular culture is fond of this word. It is often used to make something sound edgy and appealing. With this in mind, it's almost ironic when you stop and think about how well the definition fits what following Christ is all about.

If that's the case though, why does it sometimes seem that being a Christian is anything but revolutionary? I don't want to speak for you, but my history shows that I will at times settle for something that I know deep down inside just doesn't measure up to the revolutionary life that God has for us. I only realize that I'm settling when I actually have an experience that shakes me out of my comfy place.

Here's an example of what I mean.

This past Friday night, the girls and I got dressed up and headed to their school for the annual Father/Daughter dance. It's a great time, complete with cookies, punch, a complimentary photo to commemorate the evening and of course, music and dancing. Well, sort of dancing. I mean, imagine the scene with a bunch of K- 5th grade girls revved up on cookies and punch running around while a school sound system plays favorites like "YMCA" and the Hokey-Pokey. The average dad alternates between dancing awkwardly with his daughter and standing by himself and watching while his daughter (or daughters) leaves him to dance with her friends. I understood my role perfectly, so I took turns dancing and standing, dancing and standing.

It was during one of my turns to stand that I noticed my friend Bud (also taking a turn standing) on the other side of the gym. He was there with his granddaughter, who is in the first grade. As I made my way over to chat with him, I saw her run up and grab his shirt, yell something with a big smile on her face, and then disappear again into the crowd. Bud and I stood there for awhile and caught up on life in general, while we waited for one of the girls to approach and signal that they were again ready to dance with us.

It was great to see him and chat, but the really amazing thing is that he had a reason to be there at all. I remember the Tuesday night when he called me at a worship team practice and asked if we could pray. When Bud's granddaughter was born, she was so premature that she weighed less than a pound and a half. Her prospects were dim, at best. As I shared the news, the priority of the team was clear. We knew that we were together that night to pray for her; the rehearsal was simply the occasion that had gathered us for our real purpose.

By the time the youth minister and I got to the hospital in Toledo, the family had been told that she had experienced some complications that would greatly hinder her sight, hearing and capacity to learn. I could tell the seriousness of the situation by the way the hospital staff treated us. As soon as we mentioned that we were ministers, they practically led us by the hand to where she was.

As I entered the intensive care unit, I was beyond words. Here was a tiny baby, barely the size of my hand, attached to enough equipment to fill a garage. Places like that seem devoid of hope. But the reality is, hope is found in someone much bigger than the machines that were monitoring her little life. We spent most of the night alternating between praying and waiting with them. I'm not always the most discerning person, but this was another night when I understood my role perfectly. So I took turns praying and waiting, praying and waiting.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." -1 John 5:14

You may feel trapped by your circumstances; ready to give up and accept what seems to be inevitable because there is nowhere to turn. But the truth is, God hears us. That's not just blind hope. It is truth. I am not going to pretend that we will always understand His timing or decisions- that really isn't my point. What I know is that we never utter a word to Him that falls on a deaf ear. God hears us.

Don't miss this, because it's part of the revolution. Take a chance and embrace the "drastic and far-reaching change in behavior" that comes from really believing that the God of the universe honestly listens to you- and desires to hear from you! It may radically affect how you look at your circumstances, how you communicate with your Creator- maybe even how you look at your whole relationship with Him. God does hear us. And, He responds- sometimes in ways that are far beyond amazing.

During that whole first year, as we prayed and waited, God heard and responded. Although her road hasn't always been smooth, Bud's granddaughter has absolutely defied many of the doctors' predictions about her.

And Bud?
Well, he has a date for next year's dance.

In Him We Live,



Cheryl said...

Another awesome post Jeff. It is great to have these postings as another tool to remember how we should always submit our life to Christ and let His Light shine thru us. Each day is a step closer to His way for my life.

Fred said...

This very concept, as written in 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." Allowed me to find Christ for the first time.

It's paradoxical(revolutionary)...but isn't that what we love about God?

Damon said...

Christianity in the US or the west has become the status quo. Until we are revolutionary, or shake things up by trusting God for everything it will be hard for people to look upon the one who has saved us and accept him. Until there is a Revolution in the Church and God's people turn from their wicked ways and pray there will not be another revival in this country. We say we trust the Lord with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength, and then worry about our $30,000 car wont start. Our $100-500,000 house has a leaky roof. We can't make our minumum payment on our maxed out credit cards. I dont mean to be harsh on American Christians, but I feel God is moving the I just got back from India where people barely live on 80 cents a day. My view of the US has changed dramatically. The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want. Pray that God will change the church's heart in America.

Kathy said...

I'm running out of descriptives, so may I just say........

Seriously, thanks for reminding us that God is in the masterful and the mundane. We need only to open our hearts and eyes to see Him. Thank you, my friend.

Kathy said...

I was wondering.......

who might be interested in a "Convergence" t-shirt? I could look into getting some printed up. Of course, Jeff would have to get me a copy of "pick boy". I still fondly remember the day of his birth. He was born to be a star; magically appearing on the stage under the spotlights!

Jeff said...

Well, he certainly did have humble beginnings- since he started out as the trash pile from a worship team practice.

If you really want to use him, he's yours- broken pick and all.

Michelle Berlinski said...

I am so greatful that you are taking the time to write these! Thanks for the inspriation and the reminder of what faith is in our every day lives.
Mike and I can so relate to the winter entry! Our kids were(are) the same way here in Illinois. We couldn't get them to come back inside. It's amazing how oblivious they are to how cold it actually is out there sometimes. The fact that I am freezing while being out there with them is not a thought that even enters their heads. My first thought after seeing Justin bundled in all his winter gear was from The Christmas Story movie. When Ralphie's little brother falls outside and cannot get up because of all the layers of warmth his mother had on him. Ashley and I had a good laugh at Justin's expense! Tayler said she looks like an eskimo because of her hood with the fur on it and she didn't appreciate the fact that her glasses kept fogging up on her. Too funny...
Thanks again. Looking forward to reading more-
Michelle B.

Anonymous said...

All I can see is Wow! I'm really enjoying your blog, Jeff.

Jayne DeBee