Pastor Randy did a sweet post called, The family Values of Jesus, that is not quite what you would expect. It’s a part of a sermon series on the “Hard Sayings of Jesus” that he’s doing. Loved the post. Click to read it.
I want to spin-off of that post a little bit, onto the theme of ordinary, a testimony of mine from about a decade ago. I was bobbing about in life somewhat contentedly, when I started having these dreams over and over again. I was standing at the bank of a raging river, fast-moving water, deep, overflowing. The kind of river that makes you go, “uh huh, I won’t be crossing that.” On the other side was a man looking right at me and pointing to his eyes somewhat urgently. A very ordinary looking man, dark hair, a bit brown, completely unremarkable clothing. Nothing stood out about him, except that he was so ordinary, like a fisherman who belonged there, perhaps a bit worn from the elements, perhaps a bit rough about the edges.
The symbolism of that dream is very obvious to my Christian brain today, but at the time it didn’t register at all. Sailed right over my head. All I knew for sure was no ordinary looking man was leading me across no crazy river.
But He did, He did indeed. He led me right across a raging river and I did not drown. Some part of me understood the message because I never took my eyes off of Him, except perhaps during a few anxiety ridden moments of panic. But I did not see Jesus in that symbolism, I did not recognize Him at all.
He was simply too ordinary. Just a man.
My Jesus, or the aspect of Jesus that I knew before, was Holy, clothed in white light, a legion of angels behind Him, and generally levitating about 3 feet off the ground with a halo above Him. Far, far, away from me. He was not the kind of guy who would ever engage in hyperbole, sarcasm, or laugh at any off-color jokes. No gallows humor, no sense of humor at all. You certainly wouldn’t have a beer with Him in a pub. He was the precise opposite of what I call “ordinary.”
At some point I realized, I do love the kinder and gentler side of Jesus, the Holy, the Babe in the Manger, the softness of Jesus Christ with His grace and mercy. I’m not knocking that at all, but no Babe in swaddling clothes is ever going to lead me across a raging river. Jesus was not Someone I could depend on, because babes need to be protected, wrapped in soft things, sheltered from the harshness of the world.
It’s a bit funny, I had some co-dependancy issues going on with the Creator of the universe Himself. I guess if you’re going to do dysfunction, go big or go home. In my mind it was quite clear, I’ll take care of you, not vice versa. I’m a bit of an independent soul. A mom. Defintely a caretaker.
So my family suddenly went in 8 different crazy directions all at once, from in-laws, to my family of origin, from my kids, to my former church family, just everything exploded at once, and I really came to learn the truth behind the words we find in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
When Jesus is all you have, you really do learn that Jesus is all you need.
My problem was that I so often put way too many things before my own relationship with Jesus Christ, kids, family, husband, work, survival, the desire for people favor. I had always just skipped right passed Luke 14:26-27. Must just be a mistranslation. Guess I just don’t understand it. No good God would ever ask me to choose Him above my own kids! That’s just crazy.
He did exactly that, He made me choose and I suddenly saw the wisdom in His words. Those aren’t mean words at all, they are about our own well-being, our own mental health, our own sanity, and how it impacts those around us. Putting our Lord first, making our relationship with Him our number one priority, is actually also good for those around you.
He is defintely jealous for you.
I eventually got entwined with a Rock, a bit like a barnacle hanging fast when the storm hit, and I’m so grateful for that dream, for God’s perfect timing, for the truth He showed me right when I needed it most. Pre-emptive truth as in, you’re going to need to place your eyes right here. Right now. I see what’s coming long before you do. I am already in your future, waiting on the other side of the river.
Jesus Christ is extra-ordinary, Divine, but don’t miss out on His ordinary. His ordinary is what can help to pull us closer, what can bring about a real revelation such as we see in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.