Peacefully Destabilizing

Erik Cooper —  December 2, 2009 — 2 Comments

“Jesus told them, ‘you’re all going to feel that your world is falling apart and that it’s my fault.'” (Mark 14:27 MSG)

Ever feel that way?  Like the closer you get to God, the more chaos it brings? Not exactly a great church-marketing strategy.  But the reality is our western, capitalistic church mindset wrongly equates God’s peace with ease, and His blessing with comfort, wealth, and the fulfillment of our personal, self-promoting dreams and desires.

The closer Jesus got to fulfilling his ultimate purpose, the less circumstances made sense to those around Him. And we see this reality unfold with uncomfortable clarity through Jesus’ disciples.

These men invested three years following this fascinating, controversial figure.  He added purpose to their normal, everyday lives, set them up with a new life trajectory, with meaning.  And then just as it seemed all their visions and desires were about to be fulfilled, He’s arrested, tried, and crucified. He died.

Chaos. And it almost seemed as if that’s what He wanted, like He willfully allowed it to happen (um, because He did).

Jesus rocks our worldview. He shakes our assumptions and perspectives to the core.  We like power, control, comfort, predictability. Yet we find following Jesus (really following Him, not just making Him part of your culture or weekly schedule or to-do list check-off) requires us to give all that away.  He replaces it with indescribable peace, joy, and purpose, but the cost is everything.  Everything.

And most days I’m just not willing to pay it. Just being honest.

Have I just brought Jesus into the dialog to make my love of self more palatable, justifiable, culturally acceptable, easier to swallow? Or am I really willing to give up control, power, perspectives, my way of seeing the world?

Following Jesus is the most peacefully destabilizing decision you will ever make. He will undoubtedly make you feel like your world is falling apart, and that it’s all His fault.  And although something in you is begging to run away, to keep control, to stay in power, there’s another part of you that longs for the adventure, that wants desperately to surrender to His game plan, that knows stepping into the uncontrollable chaos is actually the way to real life.

2 responses to Peacefully Destabilizing

  1. Mommy Wickesberg December 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    These words definitely ring true for me! I erroneously thought that “going to church” would make everything “better” or “easy” when in reality it stirs up a lot of discourse in my life that needed to change. The word “surrender” is powerful and difficult to comprehend in a society that rewards control and power. Now, instead of doing it my way, I choose to take a step back and try to think in His way and it has been unbelievably more difficult than living a blind, selfish, self-absorbed life. It is easy to say “I don’t care” or “what is in it for me” rather than “what can I do for others?”. I’ve realized the journey is an arduous, challenging journey but the rewards of true peace and love are well worth the trip. (I promise I will “stop using quotations”)

  2. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” In his case this actually included Bonhoeffer’s martyrdom; for most of us it’s a much slower spiritual, mental, and emotional process of turning over the reins (i.e., control) to Christ. And, yes, it’s painful and contrary to my nature and instincts. But it’s worth it!

    I remember the sheer terror and utter exhilaration I experienced a number of years ago when I quit my job; we sold our house; and we moved with our three children to Europe to take on a missions assignment. It wasn’t the easiest road, but it was the best road.

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