Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Love Story Week 13: So What?

Do you believe that your life matters?  It does.  Your voice and your story matter.  
People live messy lives, and they need to know about Jesus' redeeming love.  
People need to know that their life is a "so that," not a "so what?"
- Janet Waters

On my calendar, Tuesdays are scheduled as "Quiet Days."  Tuesday is the day I set aside for my own soul care, and Tuesday is the day I review and prepare for Wednesday Bible study.  Therefore, Tuesdays are not really Quiet Days.  Tuesdays are the day that voice in my head chatters the loudest.

Every Tuesday, I sit at my computer to write this blog post.  I stare at the blinking cursor.  I think about the story that we are learning this week.  I look out the window.  I fold some laundry.  I wash some dishes or clean out a drawer—anything to silence the voice which says:

You have nothing to say worth hearing.
They already know that.
Somebody's already said it better.
Nobody will read it anyway.
Who do you think you are?
Why bother?
So what?
It doesn't matter!
You're blonde!

Really, she can think up the craziest list of reasons why I should not tell you what I tell you every Wednesday on this blog.

Some writers call this voice The Inner Critic.  Every artist hears this voice, even if they don't believe in good or evil, even if they don't believe in God.  In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls it the Resistance.

But I know this voice.

It is the voice of the snake in the Garden, poisoning Eve with doubt.  "Why won't God let you eat any of the fruit from the trees in this garden?"

It is the voice in the wilderness, tempting a hungry Jesus. "If you are the Son of God, why don't you turn these stones into bread?"

It is the voice of fear, rising up in Peter.  "No Lord!  These things will never happen to you!"

Resistance.  It's what the enemy speaks.  It's his dark force.  It's what anyone feels when they dare to stand firm in faith or step forward to make a difference.

Our old adversary makes an appearance in this week's Wednesday Bible study.  It's a story of contrasts.  Peter is all emotion, one minute declaring his undying loyalty, the next minute swearing he never heard of Jesus, in between falling asleep on his watch.  Jesus has set his face toward Jerusalem.  He knows where he has come from and where he is going.  His hour has come, and he is paying attention.  He knows his part in God's plan.

Remember the plan?  It's what we learned the very first week began telling God's Love Story:

Long before he laid down earth's foundations, God had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.  Long, long ago he decided to adopt us  into his family through Jesus Christ.  (What please he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
- Ephesians 1:4-6 The Message

There is a moment in this week's story that takes place in another garden, where the Enemy tries again to tempt Jesus to take a shortcut, to say, "So what?"  As Jesus wrestles with the Resistance, Peter sleeps.  Jesus has to shake him awake.  The angry mob approaches with torches and swords.  Peter grabs his own sword, cutting off the ear of a guard.

"Put back your sword!" Jesus ordered Peter.  
"Did you think for one minute that I would not do what my Father has planned?"
- John 18:11

What my Father has planned.  Long, long ago, before the world existed, Jesus knew and agreed to the plan.  This plan:

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, 
so that whoever believes in him will not die, but have life with God forever.
- John 3:16

Why has it never hit me before this?  Jesus said those words, about himself. And he knew what they would cost him.  He leaned across the table to Nicodemus and said, " It is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up, so that everyone who looks to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real and lasting life.  For God loved the world so much..."

What strikes me in this week's story is not Peter's erratic loyalty.  It's not his betrayal.  I'm not surprised by that because I do it every day.  What blows me away is Jesus' unwavering faithfulness to the plan, to the love of God.  To play his part.  To deliver the life God designed with us in mind all along.

I have no doubt that the whole way the Resistance was shouting, "SO WHAT?"

I have no doubt that the whole way Jesus was replying, "So that..."

Click here to listen to the story of Peter's failure and Jesus' faithfulness
and download the Bible study.

Who will you tell this story to this week so that they will know how much God loves them?

Your voice matters.

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