Thursday, March 8, 2012

Being UnReconciled

“How do you reconcile yourselves to the fact that Miguel is wearing the same clothes as yesterday?”  One of the outreach participants asked Daisy and I this yesterday.  I think we understood that her question really wasn’t just about one little boy’s outfit. 

After two days of being in El Callejon, of seeing the living conditions, of hearing some of the stories, her question was really How do you keep working in the midst of so much hopelessness?  It’s not an easy question… and a less easy answer.  It got me thinking about being reconciled.  Am I reconciled to it all?  Is Daisy? 
It’s difficult for those who come down to have to face so much, so quickly.  Stepping into El Callejon, all one’s senses are confronted, sometimes assaulted!  Sights, smells, sounds… and then when we start to share some of the stories, their feelings and thoughts are, as well.  A lot of it seems hopeless. 
Sure, a girl can do well in school, but then what?  What are her choices for her future?  To us, who are accustomed to being told we can do anything, be anyone, it’s hard to hear of how little the people of El Callejon can choose. 
I don’t like living in this tension.  I like feeling there are workable, tangible, ways we can fix things.  But, the more I ponder this, the more I try to look at Jesus’ life for my example, the more I have to come to the conclusion that my call is not to be reconciled. 
I think part of the problem with a lot of us who claim Christ is that we’re content.  We’ve been reconciled with God through Jesus, and since our personal tension is gone – that is, we know we’re not going to Hell anymore – our sense of discomfort has dulled. 
I know it sounds harsh, but I just don’t see a lot of examples in the Bible of people being saved and then settling back to ride out their lives until Heaven.
I think being uncomfortable, being ‘unreconciled’, is part of our call.  Jesus was born into a world filled with brokenness, hopelessness, muck and misery.  The truth is, when He ascended into Heaven, there was still plenty of that left.  He gave to us, His body, the Great Commission, to go out into the world, meeting the brokenness with His Good News. 
We like the fact that He’s reconciled us… but that’s only the beginning. 
I cannot reconcile myself to the misery around me.  That’s why I need to keep going back into it.  Not to become calloused, but to fight.  Yes, until Jesus returns, there will continue to be brokenness.  But, we are called to be a part of God’s Kingdom breaking into the darkness.  Not only for Heaven, but for right now, too. 
How did Jesus handle seeing so much pain and suffering?  How did He reconcile Himself to it all?  His work was to do what His Father had sent Him to do. 
That didn’t mean He didn’t weep outside of the tomb of Lazarus or when He saw the people of Jerusalem.  That didn’t mean He didn’t become angry at the Temple being used to hock trinkets. 
Jesus lived and worked within His Father’s will.  All He did was focused on that task.  He wasn't reconciled to the brokenness, but to understanding that His Father had a plan and a purpose for redeeming the world.  And, He was obedient to His part... which included profound pain and suffering.

Oh, ick.  None of us like this part, do we?  I sure don't!  But, separation from God is the destiny for those who do not accept Jesus' sacrifice for them.  Can we live comfortably, knowing so many will perish without His saving grace?

Friends, I don’t know your situation, but I know you do have a part in God’s work.  Get uncomfortable, get unreconciled. 
The truth is, outside of God's work, there is no reconciliation.  What an honor to be a part of it!  Isn't that worth a bit of tension, a bit of being unreconciled now, so more can enjoy eternity in complete reconciliation?  Isn't it?! 

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