For the past two weeks I have enjoyed the company of my immediate family these past weekends. To me, just the visits were simply wonderful. On top of this, I got to proudly introduce them to friends that have become family. We caught up on one another’s lives in person, rather than on the phone or through e-mail. So much is lost in the translation of machines. Then there is the constant surprise of how God is speaking to them, and how that plays out in their lives. Saying simply that “being a follower of Jesus is not a lone ranger sport” falls quite short of what I have come to experience in my connections with other lives.
My mother shared with me that when renting a car down in the bay area they ran into a woman from Colorado that lives only a few blocks from them. Through this ‘accidental’ meeting she invited them to the same church I had tried to visit with them this past Christmas. Previously my mother had driven by this particular church and called me to let me know she had seen it and taken note. So here we sit having a cup of coffee and she’s telling a young woman how all of these ‘little accidents’ seem to be pulling her and her friend to visit this church. I just smiled.
The previous week my sister was able to share with me her experiences at a series of Alpha meetings, greatly anticipating a weekend event focused on the Spirit. Nicky Gumbel is suddenly her favorite Anglican priest. She sees and identifies herself as ‘seeking’ and is becoming filled with a passion to pursue God; slowly chipping through that wall between our minds and hearts. And to these ends, leaving her life in the city and attending a Christian college to finish her history degree appears the appropriate course of action. And again, I just smile.
This past Friday was the graduation for the New Life Discipleship Program at the Good News Rescue Mission, and as alumni I had the honor of offering a testimony in celebration of the men and women. I had spoken last year, thinking I had learned something. I come to find what I ‘know’ is generally limited to drawing to scale, counting and the ability to read and write. It’s those things I don’t know, those things that have that uncomfortable awkward feeling of wonder that leave us feeling unprepared and wanting, are what God is moving me in to. As I was leaving the ceremony I hear, “that sure wasn’t the same guy that spoke last year…” And once more, I just smile.
I can only assume, and certainly pray, that these stories are echoed in so many other lives. In countless hearts, with the minds tagging along for the ride, personal relationships with God are birthed and experienced through those subtle (and often unsubtle) relationships just outside of our selves. In this sense, there is so much opportunity; I am in awe of even this small glimpse of what God has for even the most casual tourist. Praise Him for he is worthy to be praised.