When I was growing up under conservative evangelicalism, it seemed everyone was always in a rush:
“The return of Christ is imminent! Jesus could appear at any moment! The fields are white for harvest! It’s time to get busy! There are millions of people all around us who have never heard the name of Jesus! They are destined for HELL! We have to reach as many as we can before time is up!!! We have to get our kids on the front lines! If you aren’t preaching from the tabletops in the cafeteria, YOU ARE DEAD TO THE URGENCY OF CHRIST’S CALLING!!!”
If you were grieving, you had to ‘get over it.’ If you were wounded, you had to suck it up. If you were ill-equipped, you had to ‘fake it till you make it.’ If you were sick, you got two prayers at the altar and then plenty of shaming for not having the faith to be healed instantly. People were dying and burning in endless torment. There wasn’t time to bear the burdens of the faithful!
True, Jesus commanded his followers to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). And, true, the Bible says that man’s life is like a vapor that appears for a short while and then vanishes (James 4:14). But in that tiny span of existence, God created seasons that we’re meant to experience and encounter Christ in new ways:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Right now, I find myself in a time to heal. It’s not a place I’m accustomed to being. I mentioned a few weeks back that Jesus “broke my legs,” forcing me to drop the burdens I had been carrying for years. Burdens I was not meant to carry. Burdens that had robbed me of peace, joy and innocence. Burdens that had left me internally scarred and deeply wounded. My life came to screeching halt, and I was rendered incapable of doing…well…much of anything. At least not as much as I usually do. It’s been infuriating.
One of the things Jesus told me to do was just sit and listen to Him. So I’ve been trying to do that. But when I do, I don’t seem to hear anything.
“Jesus, speak to me. Give me direction for my life.” Nothing.
“Jesus, let me hear your voice.” Silence.
“Jesus, what do you want me to do?”
“I want you to heal.”
“What about the ministry you’ve called me to? Did I just imagine that?”
“For now, just heal.”
“Surely you want me to do something. Lead another devotional at work? Food for the homeless?”
“My church is fasting this month. I should be fasting and praying, too.”
“Be quiet before me and heal.”
It’s hard. It’s hard because this situation goes against everything that was ingrained into me by years of Churchianity. Believers are always supposed to be doing something. And didn’t Jesus show us in the gospels that healing is a 5-second process?
But here I am. With a Savior who has broken my legs, shut my mouth and tied my hands. Here He is again, leading me away from the crowd with the pat answers and the scripted doctrine, down this path that is new and uncomfortable and revelatory and freeing. The shattered legs are beginning to heal, but it may be a while before I run again.
“You said you wanted to know me. Here I am.”