In small group, we’re reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. At the very least the book is a discouraging look at where we are now. At the most it is a powerful call to action for the church to express its “Crazy Love” for Christ.
While reading it, at times I feel excited. “Okay, this is where I’m at and this is where I can aim to grow to.” For example, thanks to my mom, I have a habit of “showing up” each day to spend time with God. But as I read Crazy Love, I’m learning that I need to be more purposeful in loving God through loving others.
While reading it, at other times, though, I feel more like the rich young ruler. Who, when listening to what is said, felt pretty good at first, “Hey, yes. I’m doing all that. What else?” However, when hearing the “what else,” he went away discouraged because he had much. I’m reading the “what else,” “Crazy Love” part of Chan’s book, and it looms over me like a mountain. “You want me to go where? Do what?!” I thought chapter seven on giving was rough, but it is a child’s sand castle compared to the Everest of chapter eight, “Profile of the Obsessed.”
Luckily, though, I’m also reading the book of Mark. When reading it before, I never noticed that Jesus sending the Apostles out and their returning in chapter six is immediately followed by the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on the water. After all they saw and did while on the road, and after they witnessed how God provide for them since they were to take nothing, they still questioned Jesus when he asked them to feed the people. Then when they were in the boat and saw him on the water, they were terrified till he came aboard and calmed them and the water. After all this Mark writes, “And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened” (6.52).
This gives me encouragement. If the Apostles who walked with Jesus and ate with him, still had “hardened hearts” and much growing to do, even after he sent them out and they returned with all their great stories, then as the song says, “There is hope for me yet” (“Wait and See” Brandon Heath). Even when I’m still “wrestling with my fears” and feel like the rich young ruler on the verge of turning away sad, “he’s up to something” (Heath). Reading Mark I see, I don’t need to feel guilty for feeling that way. I just need to continue to show up and allow him to work with me where I am right now.
“Wait and See” by Brandon Heath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i52FtpO4gI