Henri Nouwen was a trapeze artist and wrote, “As the flyer is swinging high above the crowd, the moment comes when he lets go of the trapeze, when he arcs out into the air. For that moment, which feels like an eternity, the flyer is suspended in nothingness. It is too late to reach back for the trapeze. There is no going back. However, it is too soon to be grasped by the one who will catch him. He cannot accelerate the catch. In that moment, his job is to be as still and motionless as he can. The flyer must never try to catch the catcher. He must wait in absolute trust. The catcher will catch him. But he must wait. His job is not to flail about in anxiety. In fact, if he does, it could kill him. His job is to be still. To wait. And to wait is the hardest work of all”
I thought how well his words describe the Christian life. A person hears God’s call and lets go of their life, and for a moment there is the feeling of vulnerability. The question is, will you trust that God’s hand will catch you?
I thought this week of Abram’s father, Terah (Gen 11:31). Terah was going to Canaan Land, but stopped in Haran. Terah’s name in Hebrew means, “The man who stopped.” I wondered, “Why did he stop?”
What cause me to think of Terah is another man who has made a Phoenix bus stop his home. At first you think he is a shadow, but he is a man who has made the stop his airy home. Daily he sits with Dread-locked hair, dirt caked skin, and layers of baggy clothes exposed to the elements. Occasionally a car stops, and an outstretched hand gives him a sack of food. I wonder how it came that he said, “This far and no farther?”
In many ways we are Terah, and Bus Stop Guy when it comes to God in that we have gone so far with God and stopped. We think what we learned from our parents, a teacher, or a friend was all there was to know about God.
It’s sad to think about Terah and what he missed. In sad to think of Bus Stop Guy and his conditions. It is sad if that is how you feel about God!
Going All The Way,
On May, 7th the Ecumenical Church came together in Anthem’s city park to pray. The denominational walls came down and Christians by the hundreds came and prayed in unison for the family, the church, the sick and homeless, our government, and the schools.
The universal church came together, but it was not Roman Catholic; those present believed in baptism, but they weren’t Baptist; they believed in the Reformation, but they were not Lutheran; they believed in the new methods of teaching, but they were not Methodist; they believed the church was to be led by elders, but they were not Presbyterian; they believed in the teaching of the church, but they were not Orthodox; they believed in spreading the Gospel message, but they were not Evangelical, they believed in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but they were not Charismatic. Also present was a Jewish synagogue who believes Jesus is Messiah. What were they then? They were just Christians!
Who is a Christian? The person who when asked, “Who do you think Jesus is?” They reply, “I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
My faith is built on nothing less,
“Jesus did not trust himself to them, for … He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). Think how Jesus knew people: About John the Baptist he said, “I must increase, he must decrease.” Andrew asked, “Where are you staying?” He said “Come and you will see.”
Impetuous Peter denied him; He restored him. Philip would not come unless called, so He called him. His mother Mary; He corrected. To the intellectual Nicodemus He said, “You must be born again.” To the Samaritan woman who wanted to argue; He made her a messenger to her city. The nobleman whose son was ill; He healed him. The cripple at Bethesda; He stood him on his feet. The adulterous woman; He delivered her and charged her. A man born blind; He gave him sight. Lazarus, who was dead; He gave him life. Thomas was skeptical, so He was patient. Judas was a thief, so He exposed him. Mary Magdala was possessed with evil spirits, so He cast them out.
Here is the truth of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation; Jesus knows you. All things are naked and open to His eyes, and He loves you and is able to save you to the uttermost.
There is a great restlessness in the world today. A manifold restlessness of world leaders expanding their boarders, migrants seeking a better life, and refugees fleeing wars. A world on the move from sea to sea, east to west, and north to south.
I’m reminded of Amos 8:11, “I will send a famine through the land … a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” In the next two verses you find the similarity to today’s restlessness: Staggering, wandering, searching, but not finding. Interesting it is not a famine, drought, or plague that causes this turmoil, but a famine of God’s word.
It is a mistake to think God has nothing more to say. It is not that God ceases to speak, but man has lost his ability to hear God. Even though God’s Word is living and quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, it fails to affect anyone. When this happens a great ceaseless searching, and restlessness occurs, and I believe that is what is occurring in our age.
Drought, disaster, disease, or terrorist causes us to tremble when we hear it touches our shores. But speak of hearing God’s words no more and people shrug and continue to look for more.