It had been almost a year since I last connected with this friend. We met tonight at the Barnes & Noble on Rte. 10 in Morris Plains. I decided to go early so that I could do some book browsing before she arrived.
I found a book about the Apostle Paul and flipped through it a little. As I did, I began to daydream a little. What would it have been like to travel with him? Was he a somber guy, or did he have a clever sense of humor?
And what would it be like to walk alongside someone who understood that deeply what it meant to live a missional lifestyle, who understood the synergy created when cross, culture, and community meet within a life?
As I was making my way from the Religion section to the Science Fiction section, I heard my name called. It was my friend.
After barely a minute of small talk, our conversation dove right into ministry. As we shared our hearts, passions, and discoveries with each other, I couldn’t help but sense that she too was experiencing the same “dip” that I am now crawling out of.
And it’s tough.
It’s tough when God has given you a gift and placed on you a calling, and circumstances push you away from where you feel called. And it’s tough when you look within and find that your own sin, guilt, and depression are pulling you away from taking any step towards what God has called you to.
And it’s tough when that call is ministry, and you know that your ability to serve is almost completely shot.
But, like my friend said tonight, finding yourself drawn to ministry, regardless of how often you’re tossed around and pulled away from it, means that you’re meant for it. When you long for the trenches, for the spiritual battle over the souls of people who surround you. When your mind isn’t satisfied until you’ve filled it with God’s word. When your arms itch to embrace the hurting and broken soul. When your lips purse at the thought of sharing with others everything God has taught you. When your ears perk up at the cries of the youth who is lost, frightened, and alone.
You were meant to be in the trenches.
As I sipped my tea, my friend looked straight into my eyes and asked me, “How is your relationship with God?”
She was meant to be in the trenches.
She drove right to that question. Everything else in our conversation had flowed organically, but this question didn’t. No, it was purposed. Directed. Intentional.
It was as if that was the only thing she wanted to ask me. As if the night would be incomplete if she didn’t help wake me up to the realization that I was headed down the same path the led me into this dark valley I’ve been in.
She knew what was important and how to get at it.
And she opened my heart to a truth I only recently began to notice.
I’ve not been connecting with my Daddy.
And crucial to living a missional lifestyle is maintaining an unbroken, open connection with God.
Because without that connection, we can’t be like Jesus.
And being missional is being like Jesus,
(who was more human than anyone else)
which makes us more human than we were before,
so that we can better connect to the broken and hurting humans who would never listen to us unless we fully realize our own humanity.