Yesterday I went to hear Mark Buchanan, author of The Holy Wild, speak on his book and his faith. It was at the same time delightful and frightful, for he put before us the unsafe God. Both longing and fear rose up in my heart. I do long for a closer walk with God, and yet I have built a comfortable life and I am loath to relinquish it.
I often hunger for more than this safe spot. I have never made safety one of my life goals. Taking risks is part of my make-up, but I am seldom rash in safety issues. I don’t drive 100 miles an hour, although I do travel over the speed limit much of the time. Safe speeding as it were. I know where the highway patrolmen are prone to lurk, and I can recognize a cop car from a fair distance, but I slow in heavy traffic and bad weather and late at night when I know the drunks are on the road.
So, the idea of the “Holy Wild”, while exhilarating is also a fearful concept. Do I dare become one of those religious fanatics others fear being around, or am I programmed by the culture around me to believe lies about the devout in faith. When I think about it perhaps religious fanatics are the only real Christians one wants to be around. They are, after all, the people most likely to be in touch with the God I pant after in my secret heart.
I’ve always thought I had a pretty good relationship with my non-threatening God, but I began to sense today that I might have made Him up. The God I caught a glimpse of today seems far from meek and mild. There is no limit to what He can do, and He appears to be someone who has the right to order me around. To disapprove of my behavior.
There is a barrier here. In order to breach the wall between us I must allow Him to change me. I realize that the wall between us is down through Jesus death and resurrection for my sins, but I cannot follow both God and mammon. Something has to go, and I am loath to make that leap. God calls and calls, but I must listen and act. It is not the work I fear. It is the submission.
“Where have you been, and where are you going?” I was asked that very question several years ago by a policeman who pulled me over to the side of the road because one of my headlights was out. I was appalled at the interrogation then (I hadn’t been asked that particular question since I was thirteen years old), and I am appalled at the thought of having to answer to God now.
What if I do not want to go where I am sent? Do what’s asked? Think those thoughts? Am I willing to put my life into the hands of God? His way or the highway?
I long for it. I’m not sure I can do it. I am fearful of embracing the “Holy Wild”, the place of submission, and yet the dilemma of which Peter speaks out haunts me as well. “Oh, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”