Last week, Lauro shared a YouTube video with our small group. I can't get the video to link to this blog, and I don't know why, so if you're game- copy and paste this URL and watch Francis.
I never did gymnastics. I wasn't interested in it when I was little mainly because it scared me. I didn't like the idea of somersaults because that would mean that I would have to turn upside down. I didn't like upside down when I was a kid and I don't like upside down much as an adult either. But life has a tendency to go in that direction. No amount of spirituality or devotion can keep things even all of the time. Holly said this week something that I've been aching in my heart to hear confirmed- a thought that has been deep within me for months and months- "Peace is not the absence of conflict. It's seeking God through His Word through life's trials." But I could run away from conflict. I could "drop it" when people sin. I could ignore it when people are suffering. I could run away from what makes me uncomfortable. I could be like Francis on that balance beam.
But is He at all impressed when I cling to the comforts of life and do nothing in faith? Would He still love me? Absolutely. Would I still go to heaven? Sure. Would I suffer less? Probably. Would people like me more? I guarantee they would. But what about Him? What would He think? What would He think if I cowered in fear? If I continued in hatred? If I refused to forgive?
All I have is one chance on this balance beam of life. One chance to show Him that belief is bigger than what I can see and feel and hear. The belief that when I am despised and rejected, I am like Him. Belief that to die means that I really live. Belief that my treasure really is in heaven and that all of my tears really will be wiped away.
I don't think that good deeds earn anybody anything in God's eyes, but I know that faith impressed Jesus when He walked on the face of the Earth. The challenge of my life this year has been turning to Jesus, looking in His eye and walking, head up, heart aching, while life's judges criticize my performance. Do I want to kneel down and cling to the safe stuff? Sure. Am I going to stay there? No. I won't stay there. I only have one shot at this.
Righteous Judge, grant me the courage to walk where You have chosen for me to walk, in the way that You demonstrated while You were here, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, for You alone.