Hi everyone. Rob here.
I couldn’t find my sunglasses yesterday (actually, I still can’t!) and I found myself getting really angry about it. I was able to settle myself and think, ‘maybe it’s time to look under the hood.’ It turns out that I had been caught in a trap. I was annoyed that life just didn’t seem to be working out. Some things that I hoped would happen hadn’t happened, other complications had happened and I was annoyed about it all. What got exposed was a faith gap. I was struggling to trust that God had it sorted, that he looks after his children and, therefore, I could live with patience and assurance. I’m sure you can relate somehow!
Two things helped my perspective: The Waikato River and the Dixie Chicks! There was a section on the river where the flow went around a patch filled with eddies. It reminded me of the Dixie Chicks singing:
But I’ve always found my way somehow…taking the long way around.
God was effectively saying, ‘stay with the flow but the world’s messy right now so we’ll take the long way around.’ God is in charge but, sometimes, the long way around is the best way around. The whole world is suffering from a major disruption and God’s will is still being done. The River of Life still flows. We want it to be strong and steady. We want our lives to be a continual improvement until we reach heaven. People build canals that flow in a straight line. God makes rivers that meander, tumble over rocks, create waterfalls and deal with every disruption and obstacle in its way.
It’s a reminder to be patient but it’s also a reminder that pandemics aren’t easily fixed. Centuries of systemic racism and injustice aren’t easily fixed. Both are symptoms of a broken planet. The River of Life will make a way. God wants us to thrive but we do it by being all in with his agenda. It may involve tumbling over some metaphorical rocks.
If I want to live with patience and assurance then I need to let go of my desire for life to go my way all the time. That doesn’t build any character at all! If we want a society free from the evil of racism then we need to confront the racism in our own hearts and name the advantages we’ve gained from a society rigged in our favour. If you are the victim of a racist system then the journey is one of God speaking his truth and love over you, giving you daily courage and knowing that Jesus himself identifies deeply with your struggle. He died at the hands of a rigged system that favoured an elite few and scorned Galileans that threatened their privileged status. If we want a world without pandemics we need to reinvent our connection to this planet and respect it a lot more than we’ve been doing.
Transformation can’t be achieved without looking under the hood and naming the brokenness, the flaws and the sin. We name what we need to die to. We name what we’re handing over. We name our desires and expect that God will take us the long way around before they are achieved. He has to or we won’t have the character to handle what he gives us.
I want my sunglasses to be found but I’m hoping and praying for so much more. I hope you are too. Grace and peace.