A Fresh New Start
A man had been stranded on the proverbial deserted island for years. Finally a boat comes into view, and the man frantically waves to draw its attention. The rescuers turn toward shore and arrive on the island. After greeting the stranded man, one looks around and asks,”What are those three huts you have here?”
“Well, that’s my house there.”
“What’s that next hut?” asks the sailor.
“I built that hut to be my church.”
“What about the other hut?”
“Oh, that’s where I used to go to church.”
Sound familiar? There are no perfect churches. If there were, I definitely wouldn’t fit in.
Author, Sheila Walsh, in Leadership Journal writes, “In 1992 my life hit the wall. One morning I was on national television with my nice suit and my inflatable hairdo, and that night I was in the locked ward of a psychiatric hospital. It was the kindest thing God could have done for me.”The very first day in the hospital, the psychiatrist asked me, “Who are you?” “I’m the co-host of The 700 Club.” “That’s not what I meant,” he said. “Well, I’m a writer. I’m a singer.” “That’s not what I meant. Who are you?” “I don’t have a clue,” I said, and he replied, “Now that’s right, and that’s why you’re here.” The greatest thing I discovered there was that I could be fully known and fully loved. Jesus knew the worst and He loved me. What a relief to know the worst about yourself and at the same moment to be embraced by God. It’s so liberating to reach the end of yourself.
It’s amazing, the stuff we find when at the low points in our lives. Someone once prayed over Henri Nouwen, “May all your expectations be frustrated. May all your plans be thwarted. May all of your desires be withered into nothingness. That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.”
A friend gave me permission to share an email she wrote this week. She wrote, “I found Him in my lowest place. I found Him where there was grief, depression, shame, anger, and unforgiveness. The thing that surprised me the MOST, is that “my Jesus” never changed. He was the same to me in my lowest place as He was when things were high. As a matter of fact He has been even more real to me in those places.”
This doesn’t surprise me. Now, four years later, she has a new beginning…a second chance. (I told her I could identify, because it was four years ago, this week, when a pastor invited me back into the community I now call my church home for a new beginning, a second chance.Jesus said, “Those who lose their life for My sake will find it.” It’s been said that, “The turning point in our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.”
Yours awaits too my friend. Just as my pastor offered in church, a new start for anyone this past Sunday, the offer extends to you this moment. In the end, we don’t follow churches, we follow Jesus, who’s love and grace seems irrational, irresponsible, and indiscriminate. “Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” ~John 6:37