Over the summer, I was given a copy of Francis Chan’s book ‘Crazy Love’.
As the title suggests, Chan tells the reader of God’s ‘Crazy Love’ for us. The same God who created 3,000 different species of tree in one square mile of the Amazon jungle - desires a relationship with you. The same all-powerful God is the God who invites us to worship him and who has taken the time to know the details of each of us. This reminder of God’s love and the hugeness of him is an important message I know I easily forget.
Francis Chan tells the reader a parable from Matthew:
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field
Given God’s crazy, unimaginable love for us, we can see that we should have the same response as the man in the parable. Our response to God’s love should be just as crazy as his love for us. Our reply to his love should be that our lives show the Kingdom of God. When our lives show God’s purpose, we receive comfort from him and it is through God’s love that we can have a relationship with him. So, here’s a reminder, keep God’s ‘Crazy Love’ for you at the front of your mind, even when life is tough and you can’t seem to find him anywhere, remember the love he has for you. Rejoice in his love and let it support your relationship with him.
Here I sit.
The remaining daylight pours through the stained glass, there’s that familiar lingering damp smell and nothing but the faint hum of a lone fly to keep me company. I’ve come to sit in this little parish church almost everyday this last month. It’s a solitary place without even enough signal for my phone to disturb its heavy silence. Why am I here? It all started after I read a story about two sisters which highlighted my shortcomings in worship.
‘Now as they went on their way, he (Jesus) entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’ – Luke 10 v 38-42
The story struck a nerve in me.
You see, I’m your classic 21st century Martha. Easily distracted, short-sighted and self-important. When I approach God it’s often with a list of grievances in the one hand and a long to do list in the other. It was this attitude that was failing me. In our own lives, relationships based entirely around what we can receive and where we are preoccupied are short-lived and skin-deep.
And so I began asking myself:
Do you know God … really?
When was the last time you sat in stillness, asking for nothing other than to enjoy in His presence?
I realised that my own life’s agenda was acting as a barrier to an intimacy with God I had yet to experience. It became apparent that I was still operating on the misconception that Gods presence was based on the merits of my performance and not freely given as a gift.
And so, I’ve decided to come and sit here everyday. Irrespective of circumstance. Trying to invoke a heart more like Mary and less like Martha
In doing so I’ve learnt a few things.
After coming to Ripon for years and seeing other leaders doing such inspirational things with their lives, it was finally time for me to decide what I wanted to do. But before I could work to help make the world a better place, I knew I had to alter some aspects of my life and learn that God loves me no matter what. I found being a teenager as well as a Christian really hard, and it took me years to find a way to enjoy being both. The group of friends I had a secondary school weren’t great. They only meant the things they said to be a joke, but it made me say hurtful things to other people as a response. Being mean was kind of the normal thing to do and a way to be respected by others in the group. Then one year after Ripon I started to realise that showing love to others is probably the most important part of Christianity, even if it’s not returned. Thessalonians 5:11 says: ‘encourage one another and build each other up’, which is what I started trying to do with my friends. I also started drinking less and stopped swearing, both very simple things that managed to make such a difference. More people realised that I was a Christian (John 13:35: ‘everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’) which made it easier to be open about my faith and happy with who I was.. By doing this I became more like the person that God intended for me to be, and so became closer to him. I then wanted to give my life to God but found it so difficult to work out what I was meant to do. After lots of research and prayer, I finally decided on Social Work as I’d be able to help make the world as great as God created it to be. So much of the Bible refers to seeking justice, and I was determined to do this. But I was still unsure whether I was following the path God wanted me to take. I’d prayed about it for months, just asking that whatever happened was what was meant to be. It wasn’t until A-Level results day when I somehow managed to get the grades to go study Social Work that I was like yes, this is what God wants me to do. Through God I have become so happy with who I am, and now get the opportunity to make others happy too.