Words and illustration by Heather Djunga
I don’t believe people get saved by my ideas or by your’s, or by philosophy, even theology. Their lives aren’t changed by clever speeches. They don’t need some wise solution to a great problem.
Otherwise you could take a group of overweight people and give them an exercise programme and expect weight loss or give an eating plan to an anorexic and they would be fine. Or you could clear an alcoholic’s house of booze and he would be ok. Or you could take a broken-hearted person, introduce them to a bunch of singles and expect to hear wedding bells in the near future.
When will we understand that sometimes people can’t help themselves?
What if they are in a prison of sorts without an identifiable key? Is God expecting them to become MacGyver?
In the Bible is this expression called ‘Good News’ and I can’t see Good news in the full onus of salvation being on me, using my flawed human thinking to climb out of a pit which I can’t in my human understanding fully comprehend, to fix things that are too broken.
Is that Good News?
There’s this saying, ‘God helps people who help themselves’. That’s not in the Bible. Surely, a Saviour is for people who can’t save themselves.
We don’t need lists and theories and clever arguments– we need the one who gave the Word, the one who is the Word. We need to ask Him to step Him.
And that’s really as simple as asking.
The Lord says of Jerusalem that she is like a woman, doing everything in her strength to improve her situation, going from pillar to post to get help and comfort, each time finding herself betrayed and forsaken because she doesn’t know her own worth (not her own worth as she or others define it to be, rather her value to Him, her Messiah). If you read Isaiah 53 and 54, the Lord explains to Jerusalem that this self-same Saviour who has paid for her and won the battle for her, is her Messiah, her Redeemer.
He’s going to do it for her.
Rebuild he walls.
Set her free.
Bless all of her sons.
What does He want from her in exchange for all of this? This is the Good News part. It’s for free. She just has to open her heart and life and let Him in. Can you imagine the moment this woman fully comprehends that there is a Messiah who has done it all for her.
The Lord has already seen this moment. It looks like this: she stands to sing a song of joy. Not of contrived joy. Rather, a joy from deep within her heart. All the things she most fears won’t happen because He has come for her.
I think of Mary Magdalene, the moment she saw the risen Jesus, there in the garden outside His tomb (See illustration). He was alive! This was not a time for apathy, but to run into His arms. She didn’t need a poem about happiness. She was with Him and He with her.
Saviour means ‘save’.
Jesus means’ God saves’.
I need saving when I can’t save me.
This is the Messiah. This is the Good news.
You can’t do it? Great. He can.
It saddens me to say this because I so love Jesus, but I think I am only just starting to realise what Messiah means. But if in my blogging and the story unfolding through my blogged life, you can seem Him, the Messiah, glorified, then it’s OK if I look a little naïve and foolish.
We aren’t that different. You have your own stuff too. You also want your life to be lived out loud… real life not that contrived, airbrushed life that looks so great in Facebook posts.
So it goes like this … when I was in ‘Std 5’ (back in the day), I was awarded the Class Award for Sense of Humour. I never forgot that award. It stands out as my greatest achievement.
I remember at the time, standing up completely amazed when they announced my name as the winner – wondering how they had noticed I was funny.
Was it that obvious?
And so tentatively I went up, the shy, awkward kid, to get my trophy. I hoped they didn’t expect me to say some stand up comedian acceptance speech. Fortunately an awkward half-wave to the wide-eyed audience of children was enough. I didn’t trip as I went back to my place or anything. I wasn’t – and am still not – that ‘slapstick humour’ kind of funny.
Rather it is my ability to see life in a fresh way and almost appreciate the heart of joy and love with which the Lord considers our quirks and unique attributes which I believe gives me my humour.
While it was a floating trophy, which meant another funny kid received it a year later, it has stayed with me my whole life.
Life then happened.
A lot more life happened.
And about a year ago, I was praying and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Don’t forget the funny”.
I was taken a little aback. I had become so serious because of things that had happened, I had forgotten my trophy, if you could call it that. How had Jesus remembered when I had forgotten? Did He want me to have a sense of humour again?
Did He get what had happened in my life?
Really now Jesus, it was no laughing matter.
It was very serious stuff.
Don’t force me to make light of this thing that has broken my heart.
But He was saying something so much more. He was saying to me, “Why have you forgotten who you are?” and more importantly, ‘What have you forgotten who I am?”
This year again, in my new mission to live out loud – things started to happen the opposite way.
I have found myself hurt by decisions I have had no control over, faced with my inadequacy and inability to change many things.
Maybe the Lord allowed this to bring me to His throne, probably being the most honest I have ever been with Him.
We sat there in silence – a woman with her God.
I said nothing. It seemed He said nothing either. We just sat there together.
I didn’t know what to pray.
Somehow I didn’t need a list of theological answers from Him. I didn’t even need a reason. I needed to know He was still there.
So we sat together. In the stillness.
I realised, I just needed Him.
In the silence, a word crystallised in my heart.
I was feeling weak. The most unfunny I had ever been.
Maybe you feel that way too.
I’m usually so filled with so much hope but this was the first time I felt the wings of my hope break.
I’m usually giddily filled with hope but I had come to a place of winglessness.
I watched this cartoon movie with my son once. As I write, the name evades me. There was this group of birds that had to migrate, but they had gone in the wrong direction thanks to some directionless bird who had directed them south instead of north. And so they landed up in icy territory, lost and too weak to fly to new land.
It looked as though all hope was gone for them, until one day they spotted a big Boeing 747 just a way off. Now this thing looked scary. “Like, guys can we trust this thing?” one of the birds asked.
One of the smallest of the birds crept up to the Boeing (Actually the same clever bird who had been the lousy GPS and led the flock astray) and he stretched out a little foot, and specifically his baby toe and touched the Boeing. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when he wasn’t zapped or electrocuted or anything.
He shouted out something along the lines of, “Hey guys! Come here. This thing can fly!”
Give the cue, the others came forward. The flock of birds, tired and snow-surrounded, entered the belly of the Boeing. That winter, they migrated First Class via Boeing 747. They flew on wings greater than their own.
There’s a Boeing 747 waiting to be your wings. There’s a God who loves you so much, He has arranged First Class for you.
But now why stay in the snow and keep flapping those little wings of yours which are so tired?
Just get on board!
I hope this ministers to someone.
I know it ministers to me. Even as I write, I am excited.
I can’t fix everything or control all this stuff that’s going on. But that doesn’t matter! I have a Messiah.
Jesus died on the cross to be my Boeing 747 and yes I am on board. I don’t know how He’s going to get it right. I don’t know how He’s going to navigate His aeroplane over some stuff. But I’m in my seat on His plane and my seatbelt is fastened and I can feel Him with me. Just as He was with me when we sat together in silence in my prayer room the other day.
He’s there, in my boat on the sea and so I know it will all be OK.
Could we dare to believe that the answer to this nation isn’t in clever debates and lists and reasonings – rather in us opening the gates to allow the King of Glory to come in – into our hearts, into our families, into our communities and cities and into our nation.
He is our Messiah.
To read the story behind the Living out Loud blog, visit https://living-out-loud.blog/2017/12/30/the-birth-of-a-new-blog/
©Copyright Heather Djunga 2018.