Many of you know we (Sarah and I) are personally struggling with certain TEXTS. You should hear some of the conversations that happen around the house in the evening. If there is any clear direction we feel, it is that, we (the Hansen’s) are to truly and deeply engage, learn about, feel, and submerse ourselves into the struggle, pain, loss, and injustice of others.
The problem is, we don’t know what that means. We don’t know how that is possible in our nice little localized life. We’ve done the ‘go-to-a-project-and-leave-to-go-back-home’ work. We’ve done the short term mission trips – we are very familiar with what is going on in places like Russia and Africa, not because we have heard of it, but because we’ve been there, we’ve touched it, we’ve seen it…and I think, that may have ruined us. We’ve done the whole cutting-a-monthly-check thing. And what we realize is that 100% of those efforts are noble and needed, but what do you do, when those times in your life are now the very elements that have truly wrecked you, not to a point of sentimental tears and well-wishes, but to a point of restless discontentment, that makes everything else in life seem, well, ya’ know. What do you do when you feel God is moving you at such a deep level, but you have no idea ‘how’ to move or implement it? What do you do, when you sense change, but you are not sure of the change you sense? What do you do when ‘doing-a-project’ doesn’t work for you anymore, and you realize relocation may be the only next step that works as to keep you submerged? What do you do when you have NO idea what relocation means? Part of me wants to hope this is just my stage in life with four kids, which includes a new baby, in that we have had to down-shift a bit, and I believe part of it is, but what about the stuff that it feels God won’t get out of our face, that he keeps engaging us with, what do you do with that?
So, now comes Chris Marlow of HELP. A week or so ago, Chris did a guest blog post for Restore Austin and then yesterday (4/11/10) Chris spoke about his journey and his work and the call of the gospel on and in our lives. Chris re-iterated much of these same texts that I am wrestling with. But what got me about Chris’ message wasn’t the stories. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never hear those stories without fighting back tears. But as I’ve said, I’ve been there, I’ve actually even been to Zimbabwe and seen some of the exact same things. And like Chris said, when you begin to embrace it up close it wrecks you. But what got me the most is the disobedience and discontentment that continually haunted him until he made a drastic change. I don’t know what this change will look like, but I know I will become a very mean old man, if I settle for living in a world in which I could easily use to hide behind, to shield my life, my wife’s life, and my kid’s life to the REAL life that is going on in the rest of the world, all in the name of responsibility. To live in a world where lawn-beautification is a competitive sport; trash-can’s being left on the curb one day too long is as offensive as public intoxication; and the importance of a sun-tanned body even makes it on a priority list lets me know one thing, we don’t get it! We just don’t get it.
Now, hear me, I’m not saying we all need to up-root and move among the poor. I’m not saying, we all need to fill our homes with adopted children. I’m not saying we all need to become one-car families. I’m not saying any thing specific, as I’m not God and I’m not you. What I am saying, and mainly to myself, because that damn Chris Marlow reminded me, is that, I want SPEND my life. I want it spent. I’ve experienced two types of ‘spent-ness’ in my life – there are those times when you come home from a day of work, ministry, or mission, and you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually beat-up, and there is nothing that feels better, because you just spent your day on the people and things that matter. Then there is the other kind of spent-ness, in which you are worn out from, spending your time and day on all the other stuff…I want to pour out my life, but I sure don’t know what that means…
So, I apologize, not “Darn, you Chris Marlow” rather, “Thank you Chris Marlow!”
If you are interested and really engaging this stuff, then let me encourage some of the following resources:
- Crazy Love
- Really praying through and meditating on the following text: Scripture
- Orphan and Abandoned
- Poor and Oppressed
- Refugee and Homeless
- Sick and Marginalized
- The Importance of Being Foolish
- The Dangerous Act of Worship