A strange thing this is (I know, I sound like Yoda). But in all seriousness, it is strange. That people so far away would feel like home.
Yet, God seems to operate through oddities (at least in my life).
I believe that God's calling is inherent to every individual and as the "individuals" that we are, some of us are conventional, Sunday church-goers in suits who'd rather not partake of a cup of wine or a cold beer. And it's ok. God sees the heart. Perhaps I may not be able to relate to my suited, non-wine/beer drinking brother in Christ on many levels, maybe I'll feel judged by him or awkward in his presence, but, on a core level, we are part of the same family. We share the same spiritual DNA.
Others (like me and like many of the folk in Fresno) are odd (yes you know you are... and that's why I love you guys), we lead unconventional lives... or not... but the way we view our relationship with God differs from mainstream Christianity.
And that's the beauty of it, that no matter how many times I've walked the streets of my very southern city, thinking that I really don't fit into mainstream Christianity and/or mainstream society and/or life in general... or that the four churches over here really aren't my cup of tea... which sometimes saddens me (couldn't I have been more normal and have felt content in a "normal" church, for Pete's sake?), the truth is that God DOES NOT make mistakes.
New International Version (©1984)
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
I'm not a mistake. The way I view life, the nuances that make me, "me"... My hurts, my hopes and dreams, my fears, my questions, my love, my smiles, my songs... these are not mistakes.
Some of us are anti-system, some have a deep questioning of institutions, some of us may feel a bit rebellious, a bit of an outsider (I know I do) some of us walk around a bit blindly, knowing that we love God and Jesus, but hey, that's about all we know.
And it's ok.
Not all of us are called to be spiritual giants or mountains of wisdom. Through our small efforts, through the muck we think we are spiritually, God is operating. Little by little. But rest assured that life and a path given to him (even if we take it back every week or so) will be guided by... him.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
In God's kingdom, there is something for everyone.
My two years in this city have been marked by periods of extreme loneliness, a mistake or two (which God kindly saved me from, it could have been a lot worse) and a bunch of surprises.
For instance, many of God's blessings came from unexpected people. Mostly gay. I really don't have Christian friends in this city. I tried. I really did. But the only friends that came my way were gay. One was my roommate, whom I met the first day I came here. A lovely man who (though not prone to physical demonstrations of kindness, he says so himself) hugs me, kisses my cheek and just plain shares the love. The other was a colleague who just waltzed into my life and decided I was worth loving with all his heart. These gay friends dote on me, accept me, help me out financially (they furnished my apartment when I had no money to do so). And Christmases and all major holidays are spent with them. They have become family. Did I look for them? No... Was I a horrible sinner that went astray and thus met them... Ummm... nope. Quite the opposite, I was looking for God's deliverance with all my heart back then.
And the support I looked for at church, but did not find, I found in them.
Isn't God odd like that? Or is he "normal" like that?
And how about my "church", the ones I consider MY church? You guys are all in Fresno.
And what does all this say about God?
That God works in mysterious ways? The cliche is true. We may really never know what he's up to in our lives. We may not understand his times, we may be surprised at those he chooses to bless us. All we can really do is keep living, keep praying, commit our path to God, hold on to the faith, not lose hope, help someone out there with time, money, prayers (so much of it is about others, isn't it?) and enjoy and give thanks for the wine (or beer) we have every once in a while with the neighbors.
Love you Guys. Don't forget to drop a prayer or two my way. ;)
- 8:27 - [In Context]
- God can see what is in people's hearts. And God knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way that God wants.
- 8:28 - [In Context]
- We know that in everything God works for the good of those people that love him. These are the people God called (chose), because that was his plan.