Going to Ground

Do we feel dry, weary, filled with a sense of failure? In the twinkle of an eye we can relate our mood to Jesus Who one day felt the same way and collapsed exhausted by a well in Samaria. I can invite this tired Jesus into my very discouragement: “Jesus, here I am, whipped, wiped out, in the pits, and all Yours.”
~Brennan Manning, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again He appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
~ The Encourager in Hebrews 4

Oh beloved, it is true. The path He takes us down can kick us in the teeth. We go where He sends us, and we know it is a miracle that we are even there. However, as Jesus has said, the spirit is willing – but the flesh is weak. We get fired into a new location, and the deceleration we experience is sometimes mind-numbing.

New country
New culture
New fears (are they new?)
New co-workers
New language
New job
Everything. Every. Little. Thing. Is different.

And this is not the worst problem. Along with all of the new, we are still carting around the baggage we have refused to lay down. And, we are finding that much of what we thought we had laid down, was still in our hands.  Our surrender was incomplete.

Same habits
Same fears (no they are not new).
Same issues
Same baggage
Same aptitude for failure.

And the first few moments of being in a new culture are a little bit like being at ground zero of an explosion. Everything is constraining and choking and panic-inducing. The feelings of: “what the hell am i doing here?!?” are not hypothetical.  The months and years of planning to get one to a new place are then often seen as silly and not-one-bit smart for a awhile.

What to do?

Nothing actually.



Nothing begun in the Spirit will now be made perfect in the flesh. Anything we try to do in the initial moments of contact with a culture will generally be doltish and short-sighted. We have tunnel vision, and trying to get strategic simply will not happen.

Can we see it? Stay the course beloved. And the course is to come to a complete rest in the One who has brought you to the place you are now. And again, it is actually when things are tougher in our own perception, that we begin to see that all of life is impossible to live apart from Him.

So, are you struggling through a new situation in your life? This fool of a writer is. I cannot even read the characters on the billboards of The Middle Kingdom. Nothing makes sense right now. However, after doing this a few times in the Life He has given me, i am finding that “doing” comes much later that “resting” first in Him. Are you feeling the strain too? Good. Tonight is your night to begin to understand just how impossible life is without Jesus.

Like faith and hope, trust cannot be self-generated. I cannot simply will myself to trust. What outrageous irony: the one thing that I am responsible for throughout my life I cannot generate. The one thing I need to do I cannot do. But such is the meaning of radical dependence. It consists in theological virtues, in divinely ordained gifts. Why reproach myself for my lack of trust? Why waste time beating myself up for something I cannot affect? What does lie within my power is paying attention to the faithfulness of Jesus. That’s what I am asked to do: pay attention to Jesus throughout my journey, remembering his kindnesses (Ps. 103:2).
~ Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God