I haven’t written in a long time but those of us who write, I’m sure, have a keen awareness of balancing the need to practice to improve and the need to avoid writing pointless rambles. As a result, I’m writing today because I feel an urge to aim at the former. If you’re a frequent-er you’ll find some value in this post I’m sure but if you’re a newcomer, and a Christian, and perhaps feeling a tad dry or isolated sometimes please read on. What I want to do is to start by talking about me and my personal heart, not in the attention seeking, over-needy way. But in the sense that I feel like someone may need this sort of open honesty they may not be finding immediately.
One thing I’ve learned over the few years I’ve been on this big rock is the piercing nature of a kairos moment. Not every moment evokes that kind of effect although every moment matters. It is, one of those dynamics that reassures my faith, which is, often challenged because of innate, knee-jerk skepticism. Kairos moments are the manifest reason why we should obey when we feel tiny tuggings. You have no idea what God is going to do with that minuscule obedience. No idea what a small delay is saving you from, no idea who needed you to bring your last 20 dollar bill along to bless them. No idea that if you did not come to church today you would not have heard that message that reminded you of the grounding in the Word and shattered your weighty presence.
I know you will think: if kairos moments are so present, why do so many fortuitous occurrences amount to emptiness? Why do we lose people we love in poignant scenarios? Why doesn’t everything simply work out? Those of us who do believe know that all things work together for our good to them who love God and are called according to His purpose. We know that this means that though bad things happen, and traumatic losses rack us that our hope is anchored in someone who will have us sustain in a way we simply could and would not otherwise.
That said, we must see the kairos happening in more than just the gigantic and pivotal moments. We must see it in the little.
(My friend @itspronouncedtao is currently doing a news letter called “Everyday Magic” on those very small magical things. Check out her blog some time.)
I’ve seen it in times where I was supposed to die and I was gifted with means of escape. But I’ve also seen it in minutes where I ask myself does the God who clothes grass and feeds birds really care about us?
I was sitting in my living room with just enough seconds to spare for the despairing thought of the inevitable loneliness of adulthood. The separations which remind us that school days were convenient meeting places and our busy lives don’t afford us the room to feed relationships as visibly as we are used to. Unexpectedly, unannounced, unappealed two friends I haven’t seen in a while showed up to say hi. What if your simple obedience is in a hi? It’s amazing how much we dismiss thinking it inadequate, insufficient, inconsequential.
As I unveiled several concerns to them about this strange stage of life we are in right now, I found solace in their ability to empathize and understand. And sometimes that is enough… sometimes seeing yourself by seeing others, allows just the right space for introspection and consequently extropection towards firm solutions and conclusions.
As my friends left, it compounded, to me my profound ache for community. The bible is full of images where individuals took time away from everyone else to connect with God and I crave more of that too. But there are also portrayals of the need for gathering as asserted by Hebrews 10.25. Even the thought of Hebrews 12 with the knowledge of being SURROUNDED by a GREAT cloud of witnesses. All running together is beautiful to me. There is that resounding assurance that you are not alone. You are not in town among throngs trying to surmount the suffocating urban loneliness. You are in a race with others who share the same destination as you do. I use a device called fitbit. It is a watch tracker that counts how many movements you do in a day. My friends challenge me to make steps to not only beat my step count but to win races. Literally, every step counts. When I embrace the challenges, my count far exceeds what it would if I was running alone. That’s what community should do: encourage growth. Certainly you will have rubbing, but how else will iron sharpen iron?
So how do I proceed to fill this gap? I know what you will say, you have work, you have church, someone invited you to participate in this group. And these are, surely, very valid avenues and often places I glean greatly from. Still, I cannot ignore the yearning to not simply fill my days with activity (there is more than enough opportunity to do so). I want fulfillment and engagement that will not only meet me where I am at but drive me towards pouring out usefully. I want to follow to a place I’ve arrived at in obedience. Obedience secures your compass and provides clarity every time you get discouraged, doubtful and confused. It reminds you of your why. It keeps you running.
We are all at different places and sometimes we need others to run pace with us to get through this lap effectively. If you are prodded to create that room don’t hesitate. It might not be for everybody but it would be for somebody. Your obedience to extend that opportunity to someone else has probably had far more impact than you can imagine. Your obedience to support that mission will yield bigger fruit than you can see right now. Reach out to that friend you haven’t heard in forever, they may need you more than you think. When you are drowning, stretch your hand out to reach someone else and you will find with time, that this is often the way you save yourself. Jump in, join in, lend your hand.
And what am I going to do about my own cross? Make a deliberate effort to seek out a forum that offers the depth, intimacy and earnestness I’m looking for, search for wellsprings. And if I can’t find them, open myself as led to the possibility of creating them..