When you stand down at the river, a loud world gets mighty quiet.
Like the mightiness of grace, of God, 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 the whole shebang to myself:
When you’re worked up, whisper.
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 and all the wizened ones, they did always say that:
In a loud world — certainty is what sells.
People love the hawkers, the bloggers and big talkers that sell certainty to make things simple. And these are wildly uncertain times where we are all desperate to buy some certainty hook line and sinker.
Desperate to turn on the cranked up experts, click on the screaming headlines — and buy what everybody is shopping for: simple certainty. Certainty sells because we like to take our boxes home — to put complicated and nuanced problems in simple boxes, put the unpredictable future in simple boxes, put different people in simple boxes, put our our own messy life in some neat and simple 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 unexpected, dangerous, upside-down ways.
Turns out we want someone to reduce all the narratives to caricatures, give our overwhelmed lives some oversimplified solution, formula, or 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 from really listening to people with different perspectives and simply check off our predictable little boxes.
But the thing is: Truth isn’t found in trite boxes or biting soundbites — Truth’s found in abiding with 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, and we graciously navigate complexity. We acknowledge complexity. A river like this can faithfully carry us Home.
Because the Truth is: We’re not called to carry boxes — we’re called to carry crosses.
Box-carriers want to buy 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 and easy. 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 many nuanced and complicated things that bear down heavy on people, so they give people the weightlessness of grace.
We can practice our faith by practicing saying it to the mask-wearing people and the school-sending people, to the non-masked people and the non-school-sending people, to those walking this side of the current of things, and those walking that side:
“These are hard days, nothing is easy. You’re doing hard things, how can I make it easier?”
Because especially right now:
All people will know that you are my disciples — not if you label one another, but if you love one another. (John 13:35).
They’ll know you are My disciples if you don’t label the weary, the frustrated, the hurting, the misunderstood, the angry, the people with a different ethnicity, skin colour, culture, or very strong opinion — but if you simply reach out and love them.
What we need right now is less outrage and more outreach.
A kind of miracle happens when we don’t label people but love people.
Because love is ultimately not a trite good feeling, but a steady current of quiet actions that can carry us all toward the ultimate good, and ultimately God.
Love is stubbornly praying for your ‘enemies’ till you see ‘enemies’ are illusions & God is makes everyone into grace in your life; God is making everyone into 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.
Because our faith is about loving in ways that people from all 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 need any certainty anyone’s selling — because we have the certainty of Jesus. We have a certainty who saves — who saves us from fear, from worry, from despair, from divisiveness. In uncertaint times, we have a certain Hope. Jesus is the only certainty our future needs.
The absolute certainty we have is the Truth of Jesus — and He welcomes us all into the outreach of humble and gracious servant-hearted Faith.
Faith that says we are all just people who are trying, 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 east, a river runs through the landscape of all things right now — a certain river of Life and life-giving hope.
On a warm day in summer you can hear the grasshoppers in the long grass along the riverbank.
And you can hear the pin drop of whisper: Come to Me and drink, all you who are parched for peace & thirsty for unity & looking for the shalom of the Kingdom of God.
The light off the river lights all our faces. Maybe finding stillness, and listening in the quiet right here — there is a hearing, there is a seeing, there is a certain hope —
Maybe the world and every thing we see, maybe it’s all more beautiful in diverse shades of a transforming and outreaching grace.
In all these uncertain days, you find yourself at a crossroads every day — and what you need to know is the way to abundance.
How do you find the way that lets you become what you hope to be, a certain hope?
How do you know the way forward that lets you heal, that lets you flourish, the way that takes your brokenness — and makes wholeness?
How can you afford to take any other way, especially in days like these?
The Way of Abundance is a gorgeous movement of 60 steps, 60 days, from heart-weary brokenness to Christ-focused abundance. To be in a different place this fall — an abundantly hopeful, peaceful place.
The Way of Abundance — is the way forward that every heart longs for, especially now.