I came across this quote the other day and I have been meditating on it today.
“The heart of the Gospel is change. It is transformation. It is being born again to a new life..The heart of Christ’s message is extremely simple: an encounter with God – a real one- means change.” (p.42, The Cross & The Switchblade)
This quote kinda sums up where I am at right now. Everything is changing. And I am not always okay with it. Especially now. I normally love the changes in the weather, you know, seasons, trends, clothes, friends. But right now I’ve been at a lost. I don’t want summer to fade. I don’t want my friends to move all over the world. I want everything to stay the same. But it can’t. If it were, then I would be losing what I claim I live for.
The good news is change. Encounter is change. Jesus is change. And yet I don’t want what I want.The fierce reality is that I want Jesus, I want good news, I want encounter;
but I don’t want to change.
Why is it that I fear this change? Do I feel I will lose everything I have known before? Do I fear that once I let change in, it will reorder my life in a way that I won’t like?
Then I immediately am reminded to a story that I have often glazed over before, but had now impacted my life deeply. John 1:30 – John the Baptist
was preaching about the Messiah coming and he describes him as “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me” (Jn. 1.30) What a description. Jesus is going to be this guy who was and will be and overwhelmingly is. John describes him as the one who surpasses him. Intense. Maybe that is my fear. I don’t want to be surpassed.
Andrew and John have been following around the Baptist for a while and following his teachings and such, and when Jesus comes on the scene, they act different than I have been feeling. They get excited about change. They revel in the fact that salvation is. And then they tell their closest friends. Andrew told his brother Peter about it all and “brought him to Jesus.” Andrew brought people to change, ushering them to a place that is not as bad as we might think. Encounter is less difficult than we believe. And it is going to be good news when we experience it.
I don’t know about you, but I need some good news. I want everything to be right, everything to be whole, everything to be present. But I have to receive this good news. I have to be willing for encounter, willing for change, willing for Jesus to come. Today. Right now. Not tomorrow. And if I would just look at history, I would know that encounter/change/Jesus isn’t terribly bad. Moses got some crazy glimpse of glory. Jacob got an new identity. Paul had a paradigm shift. And all of them had encounters. All ofthem met God. All of them had change. And were better for it.
If I have met Jesus, why would I not tell everyone? Why would I withhold that change is a reality? Or be afraid of it? The good news is that everything does not have to remain the same. I don’t have to hate the end of seasons, because a new one is coming. I don’t have to hate that friends are leaving because I know they will always be with me. I don’t have to hold on so much of the past that I can’t embrace today. It is here. He is here.
We keeps wondering (and debating) what will change our lives, our churches, our cities, our nations. It’s not that complicated. It’s simple. You meet God through Jesus and everything changes. You cannot remain the same when you have been encountered by the tenderness of Jesus, the love of the Father, and the intentionality of the Spirit. If life hasn’t changed, maybe you haven’t met him or you forgot what it was like to know him. Maybe in fact, you neglected your encounters with him. He’s bumping into you as you walk down the street, sitting beside you as you gulp down your lunch, he’s driving in the car that you just cut off, he’s that guy you’re too busy to talk to, he’s so close. Stop and look. And then listen as he’s been whispering your name inviting you to come away with him. Inviting you to change.
“Look to him now. Look to him when, you can’t seem to understand it all, he’s in everything, he’s there.”
And when you do encounter him, everything changes.