Wednesday, May 6, 2009

comfort zone, war zone, promised land

The thing about God speaking New Things is that stepping into them is going to feel, well, new. It's going to be scary, frankly. It's probably going to feel like something is wrong. I wonder if it might even feel like sneaking into enemy territory. I have this image of soldiers inching their way through tropical forests with the potential of bombs going off at any moment. They step with breath baited, listening for the sound of machine guns. Their own weapons jag this way and that to point at any little movement in the overgrowth.

Tense.

Isn't that what the Israelites might have felt like standing on the edge of the Promised Land, particularly after hearing the report, "There be giants!" With the announcement I'm sure everyone within hearing range undoubtedly ducked a little and stared into the sky apprehensively, as if cyclops might appear out of the very air around them and start bashing heads.

I confess, I feel like one of the scouts, saying, "Dude. Don't go in there. It's not worth it. What's a Promised Land, anyway, but just another plot of earth with work to be done, enemies to fight, more potential for screwing up and being taken captive - or worse - killed. I think I like it in the desert. We know the danger of the desert. We've been there for, what, 40 years now? We've learned how to survive there. We've been taken care of there with manna and springs of water. The Promised Land is overrated, IMHO. I recommend we abort!"

Who's idea was a Promised Land, anyway?

Oh, wait, wasn't it our crying out in our slavery that prompted this whole mess?

*sigh*

I can imagine how Moses must have felt wandering the desert one day, minding his own business, taking care of his father-in-law's flocks. He probably had a fresh cheese round and newly baked bread waiting for him at home, maybe a little kosher wine, a new bride. Then there was this disruptive burning bush that ruined everything and sent him back into the hornet's nest, the one place he never wanted to be again, the place of his past, of his shame and rejection.

God, disrupting lives since ... Adam.

As Christians, we LOVE to talk about healing and transformation. We celebrate the Prodigals and have parties for the Recovered. We're all about change! We pray earnestly for the Back-Slidden and relish fixing our Brothers and Sisters, Neighbors, and Friends. "If only so-and-so would do this," or "why won't this person get it?" But I don't think that we think about what it is actually like to leave everything you've ever known, the culture that gives you meaning and shapes your world, every survival mechanism you've developed and that has seemed to serve you well, your way of life, your hopes and dreams and expectations for the future - all of it - and decide to go live in the Looking Glass with Alice ... and Jesus. Are we really willing to do that ourselves?

What is the Promise God has spoken in YOUR life? What are you going to have to leave behind to enter in? What is it going to cost you to sieze it? And is it worth it?

I suppose that is the question we have to answer. How we answer will change our lives.