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“Man was created for greatness—for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched…
The ways of the Lord are not easy, but we were not created for an easy life, but for great things, for goodness.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
A friend shared a blog post with me last week and as I read it, I thought to myself, “Now this is dedicated discipleship!”. When Casting Nets Ministries was in our Diocese, I heard them say several times, “Are you all in when it comes to your faith?” This is the way I tend to think about dedicated discipleship. A dedicated disciple is someone who is “all in”. Sometimes we think of ourselves as all in disciples, but a very great challenge comes into our life and we see that we aren’t as “all in” as we thought we were. We flounder. We question. This seems to be the case for the writer of this blog. He lives with very difficult circumstances and he is questioning God. But as this lengthy quote shows, he is also finding his way to a deeper faith in God through his suffering. In relating his questions and struggles to God, he is realizing the depth of his desire to be in control and to have a life of comfort and predictability. Don’t we all want this? But as this man’s experience shows, God has something better in store for us, something greater than comfort and predictability, and to embark on the journey of discipleship is to discover the challenge, but also the joy and peace that this entails. He shares:
“During this time, I spent a lot of time thinking (and complaining) about safety, and what it means to be safe. In the end, I realized that God has a dramatically different view of safety than I do. To me, safety meant to be in an environment where I am not at risk of injury or death. To God, safety is to be doing what He wants you to be doing . . . Eventually, what I discovered is that the fundamental issue with safety is that I wanted to be able to evaluate whatever situation that I found myself in and determine for myself what risks were involved. Naturally, I then desired the opportunity and right to choose to opt-out of scenarios that I deemed to be “unsafe”. What that choice really boiled down to, though, was a heart-felt desire for comfort and predictability.
For God, on the other hand, His primary concern for me is that I be the best me possible – which, interestingly, is something that is only attainable if your life isn’t comfortable and predictable. The motive force behind this drive is a facet of Divine Love that wants us to grow, expand and mature because He knows that this sort of development is good for us and, in the long-term, makes us the strongest and happiest. Just as important, though, is the fact that God has things for us to do, and we need to get ready.”
“God has something in store for me that, through faith, I can only assume will be wonderful. Unfortunately, who I am right now is not adequate to the “hack the mission” – as we used to say in the Air Force. Consequently, some remedial training is in order. God has a vision of who, not just I but, all of us can be. Moreover, He is relentless in seeing that each one of us conforms to that vision. To see what I mean, do a survey of the Old Testament and you’ll see that it is filled with references to God’s advanced planning for us and our lives. But you’ll also find a very clear description of God’s end goal, “You shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” Note particularly the word “shall” – God’s training program is not an elective course.
But all this discussion begs the really big question: We know that God loves us and cares for us, but is God really safe? If your definition of safe includes the concepts of comfort and predictability, the answer is unfortunately, “No, God is far from being safe.” However, if your definition of safe allows for God to stretch you, bump you around and maybe bloody your nose a bit to help you grow, then ‘Yes – God is as safe as it gets.'”
The author C.S. Lewis knew this to be true as well. In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he writes: “Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
He is Good and He loves us. This, ultimately, is all that matters.
To read all of this man’s courageous story, click here: https://www.reachingout.love/blog/
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