Friday, September 1, 2017

BEAUTY IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and there is not a cloud in sight.  I sat this morning, drinking my coffee, watching squirrels chase each other in my backyard.  They are playing in the trees by the lake and they are so full of life.  The finches were out, flying in and out of the dead limbs of the redbud tree and a fox ran the shoreline, stopping long enough for me to have a moment before running off.  It looks like the perfect day… in my world.

But 582 miles away, friends, family members, and other fellow humans are living in a state of chaos.  The overcast skies have dropped over 51 inches of rain in a matter of days and people are in serious trouble.  Their homes and towns are flooded and people are sitting on top of their cars and roofs… waiting.

Waiting to be notice.
Waiting to be seen.
Waiting to be rescued.

Texas has a hurricane named Harvey sitting on top of it and as painful and heartbreaking as it is to view it from afar, it’s simply amazing to watch the States actually Unite.  It’s amazing to watch fellow human beings set aside their own comfort and safety and to run to the aid of those worse off than them.  The rescued and the rescuers aren’t thinking about skin color or sexual orientation.  They aren’t concerned about religion or political party.  They lay all of that aside and choose to be human… and it’s simply beautiful.

Humans helping humans.
Humans loving humans.
Humans being humans.

It makes my heart so happy to watch people on mission to seek out and save others.
It thrills my heart to watch businesses, neighbors, and churches open their doors to those who are tired and weary, to those whose lives have been turned upside down, to those who can no longer pretend they aren't messy, to those who just need a place to rest.

Humans giving each other permission to be human.  Humans pouring out Jesus love to other humans the way they were designed and purposed.  Luke tells us that "the Son of Man came to find [seek out] lost people and save them" and then John reminds us that "in the same way the Father sent Me [Jesus], I am now sending you."  I am watching fellow humans risk their lives to meet physical needs of other humans and my heart is conflicted.

The eye of hurricane Harvey has given the people in Texas a different view.  They see needs, they see hurt, they see loss, they see pain.  And they run toward it, not away from it.  They are busy making space and they welcome those affected with open arms.  And the people are running to them.


But those of us who claim to know Jesus. Those of us who claim to have been changed because of His sacrifice.  When the the sun is shining and the skies are blue, we don't see that people are waiting to be noticed, to be seen, to be rescued.  We forget that we are suppose to lay aside our own safety and comfort and run to the aid of those who are lost. As believers, we represent a Rescuer who doesn't see skin color, sexual orientation, religion, or political party.  Jesus sees hearts.  Christians are suppose to display the character of God to the world.  Love, grace, and mercy should be how we are defined.  So when we don't lean in, make space, seek out, run to, and/or welcome, we don't look like Jesus.

"If you deny the value of ANY human being, you deny the sacrifice of Jesus."
{Erwin McManus}

We too have been given different lenses to view people and circumstances.  We are suppose to see needs, hurt, loss, and pain.  We are suppose to be busy making space.  We are suppose to live and act in such a way that the hurting run to us because they know they will be safe.  And yet, they don't.  The world isn't running to us, they are running away from us.  The messy and hurting don't see our churches as a safe place to be human.  If they are brave enough to sneak into our world, hoping to find the hope and healing we say we have experienced, they usually end up leaving feeling helpless and hopeless.

When we don't seek out and welcome the hurting, we forget that we too are human.  We forget that we too are messy.  We forget that being tired and weary is ok.  But what's not ok is pretending that we have it all together.  Acting like we aren't struggling.  Denying that our marriages are falling apart.  The church building is suppose to be a place that everyone who has been bruised, scratched, or beat up during the week can limp, crawl or be carried to and the church (the body of Christ) is suppose to love and grace you to Jesus.  The ground is level at the foot of the Cross and the feet of Jesus is where you find hope and healing.

Are waiting to be noticed, to be seen, to be rescued?
Are you looking for a place to find hope, healing, and rest?
Jesus sees you.  Jesus notices you.  Jesus died to rescue you.


But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me.
{2 Corinthians 12:9}