30 October 2005
In his novel "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe", C.S. Lewis often repeats the sentence "Aslan is on the move." I really love those five little words. Aslan the Lion is the Christ-figure of this first of Lewis' seven Narnia stories, and in the end it's the children's connections with Aslan that make all the difference, that leads them out of darkness into light, out of blur into clarity, and out of fear into peace, our of despair into hope.
I want to be like those children, like Lucy, Peter, Edmund and Susan. God is indeed on the move. And as He moves and leads Teresa and me right now, the two thing I most firmly "know in my knower" on this Wednesday morning are that ...
First, God is passionate about rightly-connecting His shepherds into the flocks where they're most needed ... and ... Second, the search for the flock God is preparing for my gifts, personality and life-experiences -- and the church's search for the shepherd God is preparing for their needs, vision and story, can often feel like 50% agony and 50% ecstasy.
What a hodgepodge of paradoxes Teresa and I have experienced during the past eight months since I resigned from GFU, and during the past five months since my 14 years of life and ministry there ended. Here are some of the conundrum-descriptors that come to mind when trying to give an account of our hearts, our path, our minds and our faith during this current life-chapter ...
amazed but often perplexed
doubting but struggling to trust
overflowing but daily emptied-out
led but sometimes feeling abandoned
fragmented but being put back together
healed but still somewhat wounded
anxious but patient
loved but occasionally fearful
Along the way I've been reminded of the words Charles Dickens penned to set in motion his classic novel A Tale Of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." And each time my mind is drawn back to this opening sentence, it also connects with the words that immediately precede them ... for the profound three-word title Dickens gives to the first section of his book is simply, “Recalled To Life”.
And it seems so clear that this is exactly what God is doing. During this time of upheaval and often-times daily obfuscation, God is "recalling Teresa and me to life." But not life as usual, not life as expected, and certainly not life as prescribed by cultural norms or expectations. Rather, He is calling us to life on His terms, to the kind of life where the overarching plot-line that drives the activities of each day and that motivates each response of our hearts, is rooted in Him, not us ... in His selfless desires not our selfish wants. Seriously. You gotta love it. God is on the move.
Teresa and I arrived home from Michigan at 1:30 Monday morning after a weekend of connection and ministry with the folks at Ogden Church (www.ogdenchurch.org). I've been in conversation and process with these good folks for nearly two months and now Teresa and I are praying and fasting about whether or not this is indeed the "recalled to life" door God is inviting us to walk through. We sense that it is, but we implore you to join us in prayer as we seek final confirmation of God's leading.
I will write again on Thursday to let you know what God is saying to us. Between now and then, you will also remain in our prayers and thoughts, which lately seem to be the exact same thing. And as God leads you into the "open spaces" (see Psalm 18:19) of discerning His will and saying "yes" to the "recalled life" He has planned for you, I hope you get a kick out of the party He lays out before you invites you into, and that you have the courage and humility to say "yes" to Him, even if the weirdness quotient this obedience requires is higher than you expected. Godspeed.