Friday, August 26, 2011

Bigger Still

I've thought about lots of things today. I've thought about little boys who grow up brave and taller and one day decide that they would like to pull their own teeth from now on, so they do. My fears regarding the little bodies in my care sometimes teeter on the irrational and I tell God my ideas so he'll know what to do. I remind him of important things, because I'm the mom and I know. I know what they need. And then He reminds me that His love stretches wider and if I sit still enough, I could swear I hear him laughing a little. He understands why I do these things I do. He's been down this road with me before and it's got to be exasperating, but his sense of humor and his limitless patience cover and all the while, he's telling me again-again-again about his biggerness. It's thicker and stronger and tougher, his love. It's gentler. His heart breaks harder and his cheers scream louder. For a while, I remember. So I find something else to talk to him about.

I've thought about how easy it is to just make an appointment and go to the doctor when I'm not even sick. I sign my name, scan over a list of possibilities like "muscle weakness", "sinus trouble", "chronic stomach pain". No, no, no. I sit in the room with the paper blanket across my lap and it's cold, but it's easy. The doctor, she gabs the whole way through and it helps. She says, "You'll be forty soon" and I pause for a moment because she's thinking of the wrong girl. I'm still mostly sixteen, twenty-two on a bad day. But I do the math and it hits me for the first time ever in my life - I'll be forty soon(ish). It's jarring, but it's okay, because where I live, women usually live past 40.

I've thought about the architecture in a small city that I like to call The Big City, because it's much bigger than a cornfield. I've thought about the people here, and the things that keep them busy. They may pay closer attention to crosswalks and parking guidelines than I'm apt to do, but other than that, we're pretty much twins.

My mind wanders back to one of those muggy nights under the timbered bubble of the church camp tabernacle. "If you believe that you're called into full-time ministry, I want you to come forward." I squirmed in my seat, not because of what he said, but because of what he forgot to say: Of course you're called. Of course you are. I understood this churchy-talk. I've heard it a million times before. "I'm called." "I was called." "Full-time ministry." blah blah blah. But doesn't it leave a pretty wide escape hatch? How many times have I exhaled, thankful once again that I was safe from the troubled, boring life of "full-time ministry"? Those words were never for me, they were for the four unlucky people trudging up to the front. Stinks to be them.

If it had been me, I might have said it something like this, "If you love and trust Jesus, then you're a part of his legendary, exciting plan. He wants you to work full-time, every single day for the rest of your life, to show those around you His great, big love. If you don't know Jesus but you want to, then come on up. Otherwise, Go. Get on with it. Get busy. Go find people and love them. Find the person you're most intimidated by or the one you're a little scared of. You're not going alone. He'll tell you how to love them."

So there's good news and bad news today.

The bad news is, everything we need is just a phone call or a mouse-click away, so we don't really understand what it means to trust. We have doubts that don't make sense and worries that flow from our own self-righteousness. We have home-body tendencies and inborn desires to run scared from the world around us.

But the good news is, the world is large enough to highlight our weaknesses. And God is bigger still, big enough to cover all of them with his loud, wild grace.