Pantomime season again: “He’s behind youuuuuuuuu …”
All the fun of seeing young children transported for an hour or so. Carried away to somewhere fun and free. Full of laughter and “he’s behind youuuuuu …” moments. A high spot. A fun spot. A moment in time.
Those thoughts strayed into my mind this morning as I read a few verses:
“Jesus said to his disciples, “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.”” Luke 21:12-19
Because I keep reading and hearing about a life of woe (and more woe) awaiting us Followers of the Way. We know we are blessed, saved – all wrapped up and cosy for eternity. But at the same time we feel compelled to carry grief and pain and hurt – toil and trouble (hubble bubble) – almost a daily incantation: this heavy cross, this burden, this sacrifice I have made. And these verses are so often used in defence of that mindset. A defence of feeling bad, put upon, worn down, persecuted, carrying some cross, a burden I see in the eyes and heart.
Yet I read these verses and wonder:
These disciples had three long years of bitchin’ and arguin’ and confusin’ and roustin’ and chucklin’ and jaw droppin’ amazement. Three long years of wandering the countryside with crowds and miracles and prayer and food and fellowship. Three long years of all of that. And their most common worry? “Did He expect us to buy bread?”
And then just a few short days of toil and trouble.
So why do we so often reverse the percentages?
Because God Soft Hands Jesus is not leaving us. Nor is He preparing us for the imminent trauma of a cruel killing and burial and “departure” … certainly not day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation. Certainly not as we have become used to doing to ourselves. That has to be our choice.
He was with His few disciples for a few final days – and boy did they need some advance therapy!
But today – and tomorrow – and the day after – and the day after that … Isn’t He truly alive and kicking and still with us? And if we believe that … then why do we need to live and breathe this underlying “poor me” attitude? How paralysing is that?
How receptive can we be to the daily miracles in each of our lives? And how easily can we hear Him, see Him, sense Him, be with Him in the moment … How does that work if our very being is so full of this “toil and trouble” attitude? How does that leave room for Him to indwell … to move … to breathe … to inflow us with Love?
So this morning He took my brain cells and these verses and our staggering under our corporate crosses – and said this:
“My disciples had a few days of Me before a terrible trauma. And they each bounced back to wander and teach, chuckle and cure .. to become more filled than ever they were – to become more than simply “whole again” … to become more than ever they were before.”
Why do we keep looking behind Him and “big-up” His few words of woe – yet rarely look directly at Him and “big-up” His bottomless words of Love?