23.1.07

Hot bath - Jesus Army Life, Day 530

photo by atconc of flickr.comThe helter skelter journey of supporting chaotic young men continues. They're loveable scruffs the lot of them, but it can be a bit hair raising at times. Yesterday, one was in court for vandalism, today, another is in court as a victim of mugging, another tramps the streets in search of a job (all the while I wonder if his ambition not to stack shelves really is serving the Kingdom), another can't drag himself away from the wrong crowd, another worries about whether it really is holy to imagine partaking in violence, everyday.

Yesterday I asked God if He was planning on changing these guys any time soon. I'm not really sure what the answer is - I could do with a bit of changing too! But we persevere in Jesus, pressing on to discover more of his life-transforming power among us....

Chatting to one disciple it occurred to me that learning that Jesus really loves us is a bit like climbing into a very hot bath.... You can tell the bath is hot without having to get into it, just as you can know Jesus loves you without really experiencing it - but at some point you have to get in. And it's a tough task! Your flesh is far too used to the environment outside of Jesus' love to want to have to change. And his love is hot! You dip your toe in, but it's too much, you withdraw from him again. You work up the courage and try again, this time you can sustain the experience of him just a little bit longer, but still it's too much. Eventually in sheer frustration you shove you your foot in and grit your teeth. You resist the heat of his love for as long as you can, and then something happens: you realise it's not so bad after all... It still takes an age for you to get the rest of your naked flesh into the heat of that love, bit by little bit, but eventually you manage to sit down and lie back and

aaaaahhhhhhh it's sooo good.

You never want to leave.

In my experience it takes ages to realise that Jesus really loves you and a lifetime to learn to trust and remain in the experience of that love. I think I'm still only in up to my ankles. But it's Jesus' love that will change these guys - the love that we more mature Christians must learn to splash about as we welcome them into his Church.
photo by atconc of flickr.com