geezeronthequad: The God of Nowheres I Kings 17:1 (READ THIS. IT’S THE REAL ONE)
SORRY ABOUT THE EARLIER ONES. THEY WERE POSTED BY MISTAKE!!! Okay we’re in it now. Home from school. Working the job (maybe). Seeing high school friends again. It can be a weird disconnect from them as we realize that the old days are gone. They talk about their school and it’s hard to get lathered about it because we have our school. The church we grew up in may be okay but something’s changed and it could be us. It’s just not the same as the campus Christian group we left behind: they dispersed everywhere. The campus is now home (Have we ever been on break and referred to returning to campus as “going home”?). And we’re here feeling it’s, well, nowhere.
God likes nowheres. When we find ourselves there, we’re in a good place. Elijah (a knuckle busting mega prophet) came from Tishbe (somewhere east of the Jordan River) which made him a Tishbite (I Kings 17:1). Sounds like something we find in a drop of pond water under a microscope. He bursts on the scene out of nowhere announcing a famine on the land. We know nothing about him but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to know. Spiritual depth and power doesn’t spontaneously hatch from eggs. God’s way is often to work on someone in private, in solitude, away from intruding eyes and distractions. He does it in deserts (John the Baptist, Moses), prisons (Joseph, Paul), hospitals (Soltzhenitsyn) and small towns. Ever heard of Postville, Iowa? John Mott grew up there and grew up to be a giant in ministry to college students and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1946 (That’s right. Someone actually scored a Nobel for Christian work with students).
Getting back to our current “nowheres”. God often uses them to take the training wheels off, to knock the props away we need at times but must lose if we’re to walk (and become strong enough to hold up others). Being away from those great Christian friends (except on Facebook, of course) and that great church forces our roots deeper. We draw strongly on God Himself in His Word. This burns off two corrosions of our culture – the emotions and feeling drivenness of postmodernism and it’s handmaid, a steroid stoked narcissism where the only sin comes when it’s not all about me. God also sandpapers us in our nowheres. Chances are pretty good someone in our “nowhere” summer world aggravates the snot out of us. Could be a family member. Moving out in the fall gave us separation but that’s all erased now. Could be a co-worker on that summer job or our new boss. Could be a Christian in our life for the next couple months. Here we were needing fellowship and we’re stuck with this Bible memorizing self-righteous uber-whiner! Thank God for them. They lay bare all our rough spots, all those places of heart and character still resenting God’s touch, still largely untouched by the Holy Spirit and ignored. They show us we are the problem; they’re a current flag to something that’s been going on.
I Samuel 17 tells the David and Goliath story. Here the back story is where the gold lies. His brothers thought him a punk. His Dad didn’t think much of him at all. They shovelled him off tending sheep while his brothers did “man stuff” like fighting Philistines. The Philistines put their guy, Goliath, out there defying Israel to send out one man to settle the whole enchilada, pro wrestling style without the spandex. He did this for forty days; Goliath kicked Israel’s dog right in their own living room. But out in “nowhere”, David faced down both a bear and a lion. He had two great opportunities to get eaten alive but it didn’t happen. What eating us alive out in “nowhere” this summer? How we live into the teeth of that will make all the difference someday – for God, good or ill. God shapes for a time to come when His Kingdom, the world’s hurt and deadness and our deep joy entwine.
So we will outrun our lions and bears together this summer, you and I. If we’re feeling a bit chewed, let me know at email@example.com. No names required and prayer always ready.
If you think this might encourage a student or someone who loves them, please share, like, subscribe, Twitter and all that social media stuff. If we already subscribe, then consider Geezer 1, the Facebook clubhouse for geezeronthequad.com. It’s a mix of students, student ministry leaders, professors, administrators, theologians, artists, writers, musicians, composers, booksellers, broadcasters, business people, cultural thinkers and entrepreneurs, pastors, a few campus rats and a Goth or so who think that Jesus Christ thinks that the university is a special place. they’re a sharp bunch and you will only make us better. Take a look.
Please return your seat to the upright position and give your infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.