Four years ago, it was impossible that I would sob in a bathroom, at work, flanked by three women praying to Jesus on my behalf. There was exactly zero chance I could be that humble, that submitted to any authority but my own. It was a point of pride for me to reject a biblical worldview and everything I thought that meant.
But dangling from the end of your rope, is a REAL. DANGEROUS. PLACE. And deciding to read the Bible and follow Jesus like I mean it, is the smartest thing I ever did. It has rearranged my furniture so thoroughly, in such dramatic and interesting ways, I regret not doing it sooner.
My new life at Mercy Ships is a good example of the massive remodel God has in mind.
Based on Youth With a Mission’s five-month Discipleship Training School, “Gateway” is the Mercy Ships training program I will soon help lead. I’ve been a student of it for the last five weeks, and it has proven a wonderful place to be dismantled by God, in public.
And maybe that sounds horrifying, which it is, until you realize everyone else is doing it too – Parsing messy childhoods and sticky father images, jettisoning baggage, and getting down to the way things are. Tomorrow, somebody will surely throw open a long-chained closet door that conceals the terrible-awful and let the light shine in. Then they will cry in the bathroom.
This is some of the hardest evidence I can offer for the value of following Jesus.
When I was working the American dream like a boss, making a bunch of money and waking up each day in a dead panic, my life felt like a carnival game. The objective seemed to be, learn the rules, avoid the rigged ones and play better than everyone else. That’s it. Without eternity, who really cares what you do here? Of course, sometimes I’d win a stuffed banana, and that was nice, but who wants one of those anyway?
What I wanted was joy. I wanted to feel the love of God move from me, to someone else and back again; to know I am so thoroughly loved that all I really must do is manifest, to see people around me for the weary travelers they are, thirsty for love.
I have that now in ever-increasing measure. It’s my new American Dream. And the only thing I did to get it, was humble myself and surrender to a brand new worldview, one wherein Jesus is the center of everything.
I’m living proof. It works.
And so on Thursday morning, this group of people, who’ve held my hand as God threw open my broom closets, will board a plane for Point Noire, Congo. Many of them will spend the next several years there following Jesus right into the beating heart of Africa, where his beloved poor live.
My prayer for them is this:
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanksto the Father, who has qualified youto share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:9-12