Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We’d like to inform you that today we will most certainly be plummeting 35,000 feet out of the sky and into the ocean. As you might imagine, from such a height the ocean is going to feel somewhat like concrete. When we do make impact, you’ll need to know what to do. Please pay attention to the hosts who will brief you on the safety routines for this particular aircraft. Enjoy what’s left of the flight and thank you for momentarily flying “A-Wing-and-a-Prayer.”
It’s not the message you’ve heard countless times before, and it’s definitely not the message you expect to hear from the static voice that usually croons such soothing lines as, “in the unlikely event of a water landing…” Such an ominous warning would grab the undivided attention of the desperate passengers onboard. It would change the whole approach to the humourless mannequin-like safety routine.
Reality is the airplane that crashed a long time ago, and many of us are still strapped in our safety seats. Desperation for God is drowned in the sea of familiarity and lethargy.
Comfort and normalcy immunize spiritual truth. Consider the process of immunization. The small pox vaccination contains small doses of the similar cowpox disease which, when introduced in controlled doses, allows the body to build natural antibodies to fight larger attacks. The principle can also apply to spiritual truth.
When we taste a little of what God has for us—when God graces us with some experience or understanding—we begin the exhilarating eternity-long journey. Yet so easily we become saturated with Christian culture, or knowledge about God, or doctrinal correctness, or being “nice,” or chasing the next spiritual “fix,” that we miss the white-knuckled reality of a life lived in reckless pursuit of Jesus. Our initial taste of truth can immunize us from the real thing when it confronts us.
Does Jesus really ask me to love my enemies? Did he really hang out with those people? Did Jesus really obey the Father so I could be included on the biggest deal of all eternity? Does he really want me to give up my life that I might follow him? Will he really empower me through his love to do what he asks?
New followers of Jesus remind me where my heart needs to be so I might relate more fully with God. Desperate. All-the-eggs-in-one-basket desperate. Gasping-for-air desperate. Thirsty-for-water desperate. Hungry-for-life desperate. Oblivious-to-the-gawking-masses desperate. Trading-in-my-nothing-for-a-sure-thing desperate. In my desperation I am humbled. In my humility I am opened up to fully relate with God. This kind of desperation drives me from the wreckage of life living a lie—that everything is all right—to once again becoming a follower of Jesus, where everything is all right.
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