Deconstructing a Man

“He who falls o this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”  Matthew 21:44.

In the little notes at the bottom of my NIV Bible it says:  “Some manurscripts do not have verse 44.”  Which makes me go,  “Hmmm…?  Why not?”

Talking to my best resource for Biblical archeology news, Jerome, I found out they have first century books of the NT all intact.  I don’t know if this verse is included in the originals they have, but I would bet it might be because this is the best warning we have about how our reconstruction will go.

I gave my life to the Lord at 19 (nineteen for those of you who like it spelled instead of numeric) and haven’t looked back.  I like and love Jesus, in fact you could say I’m a little crazy about Him.  O, I don’t go around beating people over the head with Bibles, but I’m not afraid (or may be just too dumb) to speak out for Him anywhere, anytime for any reason—using any excuse.

I tried to go theology in ’82 at Walla Walla College but lack of money got in the way, so I joined a group called “The Heritage Singers” and travelled around the world for six months.  I prayed about it during my tenure and God opened up the doors for us to go back to South Africa (one of our stops in THS).  I had exactly $175.00 in my pocket at the time and spent four glorious years there recording, touring and reaching into the lives of young people all over that country.  I fell in love with the road and became addicted to watching God provide in unusual ways.

Fast forward several years to Seattle, WA, where I formed and lost at least three bands or combos, lost money, got in debt, worked my way out of it, and finally moved to Portland, OR, only to find myself in a situation I never intended to be in.  Sometimes we get ideas in our heads about who we are and what we’re good for, to the point that God really has to knock us upside the head pretty hard to wake us up to our stupor.  In other words, we get comfortable with our knowledge of what we’re about, which stymies and stifles the Word or work He needs us to do at the time.

People told me I was irresponsible, living in the past, afraid of commitment and a host of other things I can’t remember off the top of my head.  I argued, stood up to them and finally became worried they were right.  So when all these people encouraged me to marry a woman 17 years younger than myself, though I saw huge incompatibility between us, I listened and doubted my own gut.  The results of such a venture now speak for themselves and I’ve begun listening to my own counsel fueled by the Word of God first, other people’s perspectives second.  I tried being responsible their way and lost my heart for my troubles.  I think in some ways I married to prove to myself I could commit, though I already knew the truth of it.

I heard somewhere Luther claimed some people become so humble they grow proud of it.  I think I became outright arrogant.  I lived for the ministry in an unreal way, throwing myself into everything with complete and utter conviction, until I moved to Portland.  Something in me cried out to belong, to find community, to put down roots, though I moved about quite a bit.

I feel God put me in this situation to deconstruct my own understanding of me, which then led me to see others quite differently.  First He tore down my drive for music by putting me in a place where everyone around me except for a couple people thought I was nuts.  Then He allowed them to snipe at my convictions one by one, a method my wife was really good at doing.  By the time I arrived at the divorce papers, I had fallen on the Rock and been broken, completely unsure of my own convictions, lacking any self-assurance and wondering if I hadn’t imagined all this calling of the Lord business.

Dietrich Bonhoffer claims,  When God calls a man, He bids him come and die.  I would like to quote this entire book (The Cost of Discipleship) for it has affected everything I am, every choice I’ve made and sent me down a road at twenty from which I will never turn back.  I am forever indebted to Mr. Bonhoffer’s writings, first, then knowing how he died in his prime.  He moved himself to action instead of merely words and lost his life because of it.

But Bonhoffer merely followed the way of the cross, leaving perceived security for insecurity, the sure way of humanity for the Way of Christ, and died naked (literally) and a martyr.  Few of us have suffered to the point of shedding our blood.  I met African lay ministers in South Africa who had been beaten by the ANC, shot, threatened and still they stood.

God has to deconstruct us before we are of any use.  He tore into my goal to be a rock musician at 19 to redirect my energies into His Way, then began the slow process of remaking me in His image.  All who follow His will must go through fire here and in the judgment for we have to be clear of any entanglements that would make us look back to our life as Lot’s wife did to her loss.

Coming through the fire of loss this past few years doesn’t give me any leg up to compare myself to the people who really suffer.  My divorce hurt more than just about anything in my life because I loved my wife without question (all those doubts aside she was my passion).  Even the death of my parents didn’t affect me as her leaving did for I knew their hearts belonged solidly with Christ and I would see them again, but not my marriage.  I’m not complaining or begging simpathy for I don’t feel I have the right to either.  What I am saying is I’m a person who has completely messed up yet God continues by His mysterious grace to provide for me.  I am a failure by even my own standards to live up to the potential He’s placed in me, yet He continues to show His grace not only to me, but through me to others to His glory.

If you are going through a time of deconstruction where you’re questioning everything you know, everything you are, all that seemed secure before, let yourself fall on the Rock and be broken.  Don’t be crushed to powder for that means your life will be blown away on the wind and scattered.  Those who allow themselves to be broken will be remade, renewed and saved.

Yes, I have repeated some mistakes; yes, my life might have been so many things “if only”…but all that kind of reasoning is complete nonsense to the reality.  What is, is.  If I submit to God, He will rescue, restore and correct.  By no means is this a “get out of jail free” card, rather He will rebuke and discipline us for our own good.  And so He has with me.

I know one thing clearly:  God provides work, security and joy for me in a way most miraculous.  I see His hand guiding and chastening me along the way.

Courage, folks, for He only corrects and guides those He know love and belong to Him.

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