Jul 2, 2017

strumming along

We all face the "bummer" side of life and people.

Today I realized that someone stole my guitar.

Keep in mind, I'm not a traveling musician - rather, this is more of a personal item that I've used over the years to write songs on or play in our church's worship band. It's given me something to tinker on around a campfire. Quite a few "silly songs" were belted out on it. Someone famous (I won't name drop) once used it when I loaned it to him on the fly. I've pulled it out on my kids' birthdays to sing the individual songs I composed for each of them as a biblical "blessing" when they were born.


A couple weeks ago, someone busted into our church building when no one was around. We had to replace the handle, but other than that we assumed that nothing was missing. It turns out that the one item that was taken was my guitar. I've from time to time kept it at the church building in case someone needed to borrow it or if I felt led to share something on it. This weekend I realized I hadn't seen it and discerned that this is likely what happened after the break-in.

So why am I sharing this?

Not sure. I know that social media is a place where we sometimes say things out loud that we'd otherwise say under our breath. It's where we might offer others a glimpse into our greatest joys or our greatest hurts. Sometimes it gets ugly, whether we're ranting about politics or pretending we're mob bosses who put a "hit" out on a local business or school official who wronged us, saying, "They bothered me. Now I declare a verbal war on them so that everyone knows what horrible people they are!"

I thought maybe I'd walk you through the ugly moments and beautiful moments of how all of this has played out inside of me. This morning I realized that my guitar had been stolen... and the awareness came to me just moments before I needed to engage as a pastor today and preach a message on my heart. But now I had a sliver of something else floating around inside of me - a frustration, perhaps, toward the mysterious person who took something that symbolizes so much to me. An item I'd hoped to pass down to my kids ones day or perhaps sing a song on to my future grand-kids. Who knows?

And yet... I don't know... something else was popping around inside of me, too. It was a beyond-me compassion and grace for this individual. I didn't have a reason for it, nor did I feel a religious guilt about *having* to forgive. Rather, I felt I'd already forgiven this person. I started to imagine that maybe someone homeless busted into our building and took the only thing he or she could carry on foot. And then I imagined that maybe my guitar for them will be something they sit down and use on the street as a way to beg for money for food. ("Or beer, probably" the cynic in me tried to argue. "Or food, too," the other Voice offered.)

Yeah, I was having a conversation. This might be hard to understand, but sometimes I have these chats with the Lord without realizing I'm having them. It's like I "discover" He's been telling me something before I understood the dialogue. In any event, I'm posting this because I was grateful for all the times I've spent with God before this moment because it prepared me for it. Rather than giving into my human bent to be angry, I was at rest in the Holy Spirit. I found myself strangely comforted by how "not disturbed" I was.

What a gift. What a Giver.

Perhaps someone will wrong you this week (or already has). Maybe another flawed human being (just like you) will let you down or make you feel betrayed.

We all face the "bummer" side of life and people.

But what if we could also all face the "Jesus" side of life and people?

Perhaps whomever wrongs you next doesn't have to receive the worst of you as you respond to the "worst" in them (note the quotes - it may not be as bad as you think). What if the time you spend with Jesus today will prepare you for that moment as it happens? This is why I love being a regular part of a church... it gives me a rhythm of gathering every week with other ragtag people who agree that God is much smarter than we are and maybe we can get through life better with Him and His wisdom. It's why I dig into His words each day and try to put Him first in all things. And when I get it wrong, I circle back and reset to get it right.

I don't know... maybe this is just me sharing out loud how I'm a real guy on a real journey with a real God.

Or maybe this is an invitation for you to get in on that journey, too. What do you say?

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