Deep Truths

It’s a viral clip on Buzzfeed. Blind-folded children find their respective mothers by ‘feeling’ for them. It’s beautiful. It brings back memories of when it didn’t work between myself and my own mother.

During one particular seizure, I was convinced my mother was a total stranger. Being afraid of her, I sunk deep into the arms of a nurse I had never met. My brain was confused. I don’t remember much.

I do remember one thing, though. The nurse hugged me tightly, knowing it was her job to adopt my false reality in order to make the seizure end. The woman hugged me and I calmed down, but I calmed down for a weird reason. My brain registered the nurse’s hug and somehow I knew it wasn’t my mother hugging me.

The realization made my brain find reason and the seizure was over.

Those types of seizures are impossible for me now, but through them, I learned how to find value in the smallest parts of my reality. Nowadays, I don’t do reality checks because of seizures. I do reality checks for what  I know of the character of God within the torrents of life.

When my heart hurts, when my friends betray me, when I’m so stressed out I can’t tell the difference between upside down and right side up… I’ve learned to look for the Heart of my King. 

Even when I can’t identify the big truths, the little truths lead to the Ultimate Truth Himself. During that season of heartwrenching seizures, I learned to identify Jesus by the “little truths.” 

The reality is, though, even when I can’t identify Him, He identifies me. That is enough.

Lessons From a Dead Man

I never understood the joy surrounding the story of Lazarus.

In John 11, we are told the story of Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, being resurrected. Jesus waited three days to attend to His sick loved one, and by the time He arrived, Lazarus was already dead. It was revealed that Jesus waited in order to show His power to those surrounding the tragedic death, but still, that’s not what confuses me.

Lazarus was dead. Why is that a bad thing? Lazarus was obviously in fellowship with Jesus, so he was in Heaven. Why were we shocking the poor man out of perfect fellowship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit and celebrating it? Dude, it just wasn’t fair.

Don’t get me wrong. Yay, Lazarus is back for his sisters, Mary and Martha. But seriously, the guy just wanted Heaven… and he was just getting comfortable past the pearly gates when God (hypothetically, of course) spoke two words: Go back.

I read Lazarus’ story and I’m brought to tears. Not because of the sign of God’s power in the God-Man Jesus, though such a thing is comforting, awesome and beautiful. I’m brought to tears because, well, what about the price on Lazarus’ heart to be used for God’s glory in such a way?

It’s also a calm yet firm whisper to my heart to remind me I can’t tell God when He’s done making the ashes of my life glorify His name. Lazarus probably wanted to stay in Heaven; going back to suffering on Earth probably wasn’t on his post-mortem bucket list. Yet God wanted to use Lazarus… and so He did.

Often times, I want to scream at the Heavens that I’m done being used in the area of pain, suffering and redemption after shame. Often times, I mutter forcefully, “I’m done. Give me Heaven, already. I was so gosh-frikkin’ close to Heaven forever. Stop using my pain. I want Heaven.”

But then, just like Jesus with Lazarus, I hear Him enclose me with the words, “I did this so others may believe in Me, Child. You will understand when you stand before Me ‘for real’ some day soon. Let Me use you. It’s pricey to your heart, but it’s making you more like Me.”

Lazarus’ story doesn’t always make me cry anymore. It just makes me long for Heaven and the ability to hear Jesus’ grander plan.

Price of a Glass House

Three words you barely ever hear ministry workers say: “I need you.”

Notice the period at the end of the sentence. We’re okay with telling you we need you to do something. “I need you to help in Childcare.” “I need you to make cookies for the fundraiser.” “I need you to start up a prayer meeting.”

That is okay. That isn’t personal. That’s administrative. If you fail, maybe I’ll groan and mutter, but I will survive just fine. Flexibility is the second greatest, not-so-Godly, attribute of people in ministry.

The first one is avoiding at all costs needing someone emotionally or spiritually when they are not serving in the trenches within the ministry. 

I realize I don’t know everything (I know, I know. This is shocking). But a large majority of that fear is because most of have been led to believe if they’re up front “in ministry” they have to have all their crud together. Actually, honestly, for most of ’em, “crud” is an understatement. Most days, without God’s intervention, I would love to use a much stronger 4-letter word.

 So, here’s just a very simplistic plea for all people in ministry (including pastors and their wives, in case you weren’t thinking of them). Next time you ‘meet one’, purpose in your hearts to let them be human. Purpose in your hearts to pray for them… and purpose in your hearts to understand they need you.

Ministry is a heart-consuming blessing, but it comes with its very own glass house. Instead of being shocked when you discover ministry-workers struggle and are just as human as the rest of us, give them the chance to need others within the Body of Christ just as much as you do.