Monday, December 04, 2006

Speaking of Hope...

turns out I don't have any of that either.

I'm doing an Advent study called While We Wait by Mary Lou Redding. The first section coincides, obviously, with the first week of Advent whose theme is "Hope." Redding introduces the theme in a wonderful eye opening way. We start the study with Tamar and Rahab. Tamar posed as a prostitute to get knocked up and Rahab actually was a prostitute. I know, I know what you're thinking, "Merry Christmas!" But Tamar and Rahab are two of only three women mentioned in Jesus's genealogy. (The third woman is Ruth.) And both of them really put themselves out there in a bold way to bring about what it was they were hoping for. See, Redding opened my eyes about hope. Hoping is different from wishing. Wishing is passive. Hoping is active. proactive. nice, huh?

But then the questions started asking about the way God works through and uses people. Was I surprised that God worked through a prostitute? What type of people does God use? Would I expect God to use me? Now, the prostitute thing didn't really phase me. I mean, that is shown to us over and over in the bible. God using the "lowly." I think God works through everyone if given half a chance. Perhaps the more desperate among us are more open to the risk and ridiculousness where God tends to hang out. Most of us tend to talk ourselves out of the types of roads God wants us to walk down because they are crazy and because we can't see around the bend to what is waiting for us. We like to stay where we are comfortable. with what is familiar. It could miserable and toxic, but dammit it's therefore comfortable.

But God's grace requires risk and faith and hope.

Which brings us to the question about me. About whether I expect God to use me. I know he does. But, I am truly afraid of God using me. I am ok if God wants to use me in my comfort zone. ie as a mother, as a wife, as a friend (to friends I already have, of course), as a neighbor (to my close neighbors on my block that I know and love), as a pastor's wife (unless of course I am tired of listening to you complain). But, if God wants to use me outside of that comfort zone? No dice. not interested. too scared.

I was up for anything before this life. before beautiful children and before loving family. When I was just me. alone. I'd risk whatever to be of use. But now, I hide when the homeless person comes to my door and I'm alone with the children. I'm scared to move to a mission area that doesn't have state of the art medicine, I'm even scared of God using Dearie. We get plenty of mentally disabled homeless people come into the church during the day. And most days it's just Dearie and Elizabeth, the 94 year old office volunteer.

I am so tired of being afraid. I am so hope


ccap said...

Wow. Well-written. I have always been moved that Tamar and Rahab are listed in the geneology.