On Rivers Wide and Deep.

Remember last week when I said I’d given up on coincidence? If there is no God, or he’s unconcerned with me, why am I reading books like Jeff Goins’ Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life and Jen Hatmaker’s Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, days before landing in Africa?

Please.

So here I am, laying over in London enjoying a latte and scone, and Hatmaker says this:

How can I be socially responsible if I’m unaware that I reside in the top percentage of wealth in the world? (You probably do too: Make $35,000 a year? Top 4%. $50,000? Top 1 percent) Excess has impaired perspective in America; we are the richest people on earth, praying to get richer. We’re tangled in unmanageable debt while feeding the machine, because we feel entitled to more. What does it communicate when half the global population lives on less than $2 a day, and we can’t manage a fulfilling life on twenty-five thousand times that amount? Fifty thousand times that amount? It says we have too much and it’s ruining us.

Ostensibly, short term missions are about spreading the gospel by addressing physical needs in developing nations, but I’m starting to think that’s about half of it. What if it’s God’s way of yelling at sleepy-headed, obese-with-blessing Americans like me, saying:

“Wake up little sister and disperse all that brilliant, amazing crap gathering dust in your brain and house. I put it there for a reason, get busy.”

Upper Yosemite Fall and Merced River on Swingi...

So I predict in about 13 hours an earthquake is going to level my tidy, little house, shifting my ground in ways I can’t predict, making this whole Africa endeavor a lot more about me than I care to admit.

But it’s ok because I tried every other way of making my life matter and I came up short. I’ve laid myself so bare to this experience, I can’t even pray without weeping, and I’m still in London.

What a freak.

See Jesus will wreck your life if you let him, but I know from experience now, that he leaves behind a wide river of living water, running deep and still through the center of our lives. It’s an achingly beautiful place you never want to leave, like the Merced River out of Yosemite, and on the days I choose to follow him, I don’t have to.

And that’s what I want every day.

What do you want? Are you still struggling with the how?

 

How to Wreck Your Life – On Purpose.

“The world is broken and remains that way, in spite of our efforts to help it. This is beautiful in a way, because it breaks us of our self-dependency. In a world that refuses to be healed, we must face the fact that we are not the heroes of our stories. It teaches us to rely on something bigger than ourselves and teaches us the source of true compassion.”  – Jeff Goins. Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life.

Wrecked

One week before leaving for Africa, I picked up Jeff Goins’ first book Wrecked. Since I already have the pre-order of his second book – The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing, I’ve got some catching up to do.

In the first few pages, Goins suggests the American Dream has left many of us dying of boredom and ennui, because suffering is an integral part of the human experience and a lot of us successfully avoid it.

But without a willingness to sit quietly in the paradox of glimmering joy and gritty, carbon black suffering – equal partners in a fully realized life – we’re half living, suffocating under the pillowy down of our unchallenged comforts.

It’s an interesting theory that we somehow already know is true.

Before I started following Jesus like I mean it, I would have chuckled at the coincidence of picking up this book a week before I leave for a bush village in Africa.

But I don’t believe in coincidence anymore.