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By accepting our weakness and emptiness, and having Christ fill us, redeem us, and live in us, we leave the island of self-captivity and cross to a new island.

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We live in a new spiritual place. We maintain an internal dialogue with Christ, praying for wisdom, insight, and strength to do what we must, asking Jesus to indwell us in all of our situations. We ask to have Christ’s perspective and to stop trying to work and strategize to please him on our own, or out of our own sense of justice.

But we find it difficult not to try to return to the old, familiar and “safe” island that we left behind. Why?

Because we are so often distracted, too caught up in what Francis Schaeffer called “the tyranny of the urgent,” we drift off course, lose perspective, and frankly dry up with the daily commute on this island. Sometimes (thank goodness!), We find ourselves wandering back to the first island and, if we are obedient, we return to abiding in Christ. But we hope to get better at that and feel more comfortable practicing the presence of Jesus. It is not like this?

Not so fast, pilgrim. This can be a very dry and even tedious place to live. The second island may well be our place of residence for an extended period of our lives. Christ, through prayer and the discipline of honest Christian fellowship, will bring us face to face with some of our persistent actions and attitudes that will lead to sub-Christian behavior.

We discovered that being a follower of Jesus is more than avoiding certain actions and habits (and fighting to prevent others from sinning) – it is having our whole mind, our heart, our worldview, our loves and our fears being transformed. Like brushing our teeth and exercising, it takes time and perseverance to see results. Some of us have dramatic experiences and breakthroughs, while others seem to have to learn the same lesson over and over again, though often the stakes are higher as life progresses.

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That is my experience. Yours too? It seems to me that trusting Christ with situations that I cannot change is becoming more challenging as I live longer on this island. I think it is normal now. When I talk to people about a Christian perspective on what we are witnessing, I sometimes see resignation and, frankly, despair. As individuals, we sigh and say that the problems are too great. I nod when they say no one is listening, but is that all? I think, “When we leave, why do we want to be remembered? Waiting while the ship sinks?

Yes, today’s prayers seem to take forever for God to answer. Sometimes they can refuse. I imagine myself as a relative at a bus station, waiting to be reunited with a loved one when the next bus arrives. Sometimes it seems like buses come and go, and that special is never on board. Long, long ago, Bruce Cockburn sang that he was looking for the “exit stage.” Not yet. We are necessary.

Jesus keeps asking me to trust Him. Often that is just hard. Hope is increasingly a deliberate choice, in the face of disappointment. If it weren’t for the encouragement of other Christians, often with more experience, who tell me that their time on the island has been like this, I could sit down and look for the starting stage,

too. Jesus goes on saying: “Trust.” I ask him: “How much longer?” Just smile. Some answers are too big to understand. He wants us to moan, but not to guess.

Mystics say that at times like this, we should dance for joy, because God is working mightily in ways totally hidden from us. When we feel like failures, He is better able to do His invisible work in us. When we feel that our attitude is petty and our life is a desert on this second island, can it be because we are becoming really aware of how much we need it and how much is our own idea of ​​what a Christian life should be? just a cardboard house?

As we have seen this summer, our cardboard houses cannot stand the heat. Ask God what you can be doing right now (with other people of faith, by the way! The time for solo acts is over). Pray for our firefighters, nurses, doctors, and first responders, and do everything you can to care for them. Love and protect our teachers. Vote with intention. Be careful when no one else seems to. Be blessed when others join you. The time to try is past, now is the time to do it.

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