Thursday, July 16, 2009

Here & Now

Not a whole lot of news... big game of wait and see... still messing with his medications, hoping that he can wake up soon so they can take the tube out of his throat. He is calm right now, but will go through episodes, as they change up his medication, of moving BOTH his arms now, which are both incredibly strong, grimacing, twitching his lips, furrowing his brow, moving his legs, and trying to grab onto things with his left hand. He vaguely reacts to people when they say his name loudly in his face. Which is actually incredible considering how much medication he is on. Just ONE of the medications he is on is equivalent to 60 mg of morphine an hour (5 mg is enough to put somebody to sleep). His body has gotten used to some of the medications, so they have to up the dose. So, the sooner he is off medications, the better. But that means incredible pain for him, because he will be awake. I want him to be awake so he can see all that is going on for him, and so I can talk to him about me going down to school... but I have a feeling that even if he is awake, he won't care about these things due to the state of pain he will be in.

Again... live in the moment. Trust that God is holding him in the same manner now that he will be held even if I am not here.

Still thinking about this idea, living in the moment... and how it relates to God's promises for us. When, and why, and by who, did the message of Christ ever get distorted into "say a prayer in which you claim to believe all the correct things, and then one day you will get to go to 'heaven' and be perfect forever?" I don't think that a whole lot of people actually believe that this is Christ's message, but I think that this is what we tend to imply by the ways we operate and the things we put as priorities. How much do you think things would change if we recognized that faith in Christ is not at all about a post-mortem destination, but is about a love affair with the God of the universe through his Son, through his Spirit being actively, constantly poured out fresh on mankind, about the beauty and love and community and passion that we experience here in this life as we struggle through what it really means to love, serve and be children of the Almighty? This would drastically change the way we approach all facets of our faith. Rather than approaching people as "outsiders" who need to be taught the right answer, who need to agree ourselves, we would simply seek to introduce people to the eternal paradox, the Great Mystery, which is our God becoming human, identifying with us, for love of us. We would invite them into the constant journey that we are all on.
It is about our love in the Kingdom of God, in his Presence, here and now. After all, when we speak of the after-life, we have to admit that we don't know what happens. It is a mystery, far beyond our scope of understanding. Just because we say that heaven awaits does not diminish the fear and horror of death! Just look at how Christ died - in the agony of being forsaken by God. Whenever the Bible talks about the promises if God, it seems to be more focusing on this life, about JOY in the midst of HORRIBLE HEARTACHE which is so common in this life.
So it is about God's Kingdom come now, about his Presence in the midst. If you are familiar with it, just think of the passage starting in Matthew 25.31 about Christ separating the sheep from the goats. The message of this passage is not "believe in Jesus or you will go to hell like the goats." It is all about THIS LIFE - it is a command to love and serve people here and now.

All this to say, we tend to get the message of Christ backwards. Christ did not come to say "get it together so you can be with me." It is not about being fearful about not being good enough to get to heaven. That is missing the whole point of his coming! He CAME to be with us! He is already with us! He skipped all the nonsense about us trying to be better, and just came to us, as we are, denying himself in the process, dirtying himself in the filth of humanity! Christ came for the broken. To heal them. To restore them NOW. When we talk about living in the world but not "of the world," it is not referring to an escapism from earthly life. It is talking about delving into the heaven which has come and is now among us! It is talking about living this life in a way that is contrary to the ways that our world tends to operate. We tend to sugarcoat death by consoling ourselves with the fact that we get to be in heaven. I think we are depriving ourselves of necessary grief over the tragic loss of life and vitality - that death is the greatest form of brokenness... but even there, Christ is. Through that brokenness, something happens.
None of this is to say that there is no life after death. It is to say that God wants us in his presence NOW, where we are at. Just as we are.

"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there."

So, the weird part of all this... of understanding this idea of here and now.... of living in the moment... of God's Kingdom come: I am to be content with God in this moment. Watching Jacob lie in the hospital bed, knocked out from medication, with burnt skin, bandaged wounds, thrashing his limbs and grimacing occasionally. Because, I feel like the promises of God's restoration have more to do with his promises here, now, making things new, than saying "there will be a good ending." I is more about the process, which is good because God is here. Working in all things for good. Now.

Ok God... here we are in Sheol. In the depths of pain and sin, crying out that you would heal Jacob and restore him to us. We know that you are even here - you have descended to Sheol to be with us. You have passed through the tragedy of human suffering and come out in life... you have made the way through the wilderness for us. I recognize that brokenness is an integral part of this process. And I submit to you.



Casey Travis said...

so we are at worship practice right now and the first song we started playing just made me think of your family and all that you are asking, learning and experiencing of here it is...

Great is Your Faithfulness, O God
You wrestle with the sinners heart
You lead us by still waters, and to Mercy (love that line)
And nothing can keep us apart

So remember your people
Remember your children
Remember your promises, O God

Your Grace is enough
Your Grace is enough
Your Grace is enough for me.

Great is your love and justice God
You use the weak (Jacob)to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your Salvation
And ALL Your people sing along

So Remember your people
Remember your children
Remember your promise, O God

Your Grace is enough
Your Grace is enough
Your Grace is enough for me!!!!

Thanks for letting Jacob teach us through your family and his weakness...thanks for sharing with us, Robbie.
Jess Travis

Cindy Todd said...

Thank you Robbie!

Mari said...

Yes, thanks so much, Robbie, for sharing - always so inspiring, honest, thought-provoking and from the heart! And love Casey's timely song. Tonight, hanging onto His grace and praying/weeping for Jacob and all of you during this incomprehensible time of distress along Jacob's journey to recovery. Great is Your Faithfulness, O God....remember Your children!