When you stand down at the river, the world get’s mighty quiet.
Like the mightiness might actually come in the quiet.
My Grandmother never told me that —
But it’s what I tell the kids a thousand messy times, though they know I’m the one preaching the gospel of it to myself:
When you’re worked up, whisper.
It’s how God can usher Himself into a place— ask Elijah.
It’s best parenting practice. It’s best life-survival practice. When the world gets loud, put your ear down to it and listen — and then whisper. When everyone yells, no one can hear.
When the world and you are worked up, whisper — and a pin will drop. The other shoe will drop. Then we can finally get our shoes on, finally get somewhere. Get somewhere better.
The river keeps navigating its complex course.
Keeps rolling out the possibility of another way, a way less travelled, a way through.
My Grandmother, the wizened ones, they did always say that:
In a loud world — certainty is what sells.
People love the hawkers, the big talkers, the bloggers that sell certainty.
Turn on the cranked up experts, click on the screaming headlines — and what people are shopping for is certainty. Certainty sells because we like to take home our boxes — to put people in boxes, put our life in neat boxes, put parts of the world into manageable boxes.
Turns out what we want most is someone to just sell us some certainty about who is who, and what is what, so we can have this sense of knowing what’s safe — instead of knowing Who is the Savior who calls us to love in dangerous, upside-down ways.
Turns out we want someone to reduce all people to caricatures, give our overwhelmed lives some oversimplified solution, formula, soundbite, so we can feel the relief of safe — instead of living in the reality of a Savior who calls us to live unsafe so others are literally saved.
We like to buy certainty and take home our little boxes — because we like to check out people and check off our little boxes.
But the thing is: Truth isn’t found in trite boxes — Truth’s found in the richness of Christ. Truth doesn’t come marked as simplicity — Truth comes marked with the fullness of grace, or it isn’t Truth. Truth is a Person and He is the complexity and the empathy and the integrity and the certainty and the supremacy of Christ.
And the river’s wide and deep and strong and long and there are layers to all this water, quiet depths. The travellers and followers and disciples, we navigate complexity. We acknowledge complexity. A river like this faithfully carries us Home.
Because the Truth is: We’re not called to carry boxes — we’re called to carry crosses.
Box carriers are about buying certainty for living. Cross carriers are about carrying the complexity of living.
Box carriers strain for the power of controlled lives. Cross carriers surrender to the power of the Christ life.
Box carriers box things into simple. Cross carriers unpack things and sit with the suffering.
It’s only those who carry crosses who can know how there is an intersection of the many complicated things that bear down on people.
They’ll know you are My disciples if you don’t label the limping people, the misunderstood people, the people with a different ethnicity, skin colour, culture, depressed people, struggling people, sick people, confused people, angry people, hurting people — but if you love them.
A kind of miracle happens when we don’t label people but love people.
And love is ultimately not a trite good feeling, but a steady current of quiet actions that could carry the loved person toward ultimate good.
Love is stubbornly praying for your ‘enemies’ till you see ‘enemies’ are illusions & God makes everyone grace in your life: a friend.
If we knew what current everyone was trying to battle, there isn’t even one person we wouldn’t help fight their current with the current of a Greater Love.
What is our faith if it’s not about living so that people from many streams of life are carried by the current of His love — toward Him and Home.
The world changes when we don’t categorize, polarize and demonize people with broad brushstrokes — but when we apologize, empathize, evangelize and prioritize people with these quiet brushes of grace.
Because it turns out: Christ-followers aren’t called to go buy certainty — we’re called to go walk by faith.
Christ-followers don’t have a certainty to sell —- we have a certainty who saves, and His name is Jesus. The absolute certainty we have is the Truth of Jesus — and He welcomes us into living the humble and complex nuances of a servant Faith.
Faith that says we are all just people who are both His good and our bad and He’s the only One good, Faith that requires His patient love and His merciful understanding and His servant actions and His willingness to suffer with and for the wounded.
A river runs through all the farmland to the west, a river runs through all this— the river of Life.
On a warm day in summer you can hear the grasshoppers in the long grass along the riverbank.
You can hear the pin drop of whisper: Come to Me and drink, all you who are parched for peace & thirsty for unity & dry for the shalom of the Kingdom of God.
The light off the river lights all their faces. Maybe finding stillness, and listening in the quiet, here there is a hearing, there is a seeing —
Maybe the world and every thing we see, maybe it’s more beautifully diverse shades of a transforming grace.