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The last few days have just been incredible. I have been listening to a ton of sermons and podcasts and the ones that I found were exactly what I needed to hear. I've also tried some new speakers that I haven't heard before and was completely blown away. The speaker I have been listening to is the pastor of Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England and his name is Paul Scanlon. The message he has been giving is called "The Power of a Risk Taker".
What he has been speaking about is how the next generation of kids are being raised with a form of paranoid parenting. It's gone beyond just wanting to keep kids safe, it's gotten to the point of raising kids from a place of fear and phobias. He went on to cite examples in England where rulings have gotten to the point where they are thinking of banning all kinds of contact sports just in case someone might get hurt. And also banning games like "musical chairs" because it promotes aggression and it is teaching kids that there can only be one winner (seriously).
At one school, birthday cakes are not allowed to be brought to celebrate a birthday because there might be germs coming from the home of the child that is bringing it. In once incident, the parent drove behind the school bus just to make sure that the child would get there safely. Games like tag or doing handstands are slowly being discouraged or banned on the playground so that it is a 100% guarantee that nobody will get hurt.
Basically, the next generation is being raised in a cocoon and the pastor was preaching on how we are going to have an entire generation of individuals in North America and Europe who aren't going to cope with life simply because of paranoid parenting.There is so much good stuff that came from his preaching but there is one things that stood out in my mind. He preached on how Jesus, lived a life of risk. Our depictions of Jesus display him as passive but truthfully, there was nothing passive about the way that he lived. When his disciples signed on to stay with him, Jesus actually took them into situations that freaked them out totally. Let's review....
Jesus and them go out on boat into a deadly storm where he falls asleep while they battle for their lives until someone has to wake him up and ask him to do a miracle to calm the storm. They visit the territory of a demon possessed man who has 2000 demons and rushes at them screaming at them at the top of his lungs. Jesus walks into the temple and sees it being turned into a market place. He loses his temper and starts throwing things around, releasing livestock, overturning the money changer tables.
To add insult to injury, Jesus decides to break every single one of the sabbath rules and encourages his disciples to do the same in plain sight of the religious leaders. And when Jesus felt the need to relax, he thought that prostitutes and tax collectors make great company and would accept the invitation to any festival in town. He and his disciples one day arrived at the scene of what was meant to be a stoning and saved a woman caught in adultery just in the nick of time. In short, the life of Jesus was not passive!
And the message talked about how when God loves us, he sometimes throws us into situations where we don't have our resource and comforts. Situations where there is uncertainty and we are forced to go into survival mode. Because he is developing us and forcing us to grow. It reminds me of how a mother eagle teaches her babies to fly. The sight of an eagle soaring may look majestic but the process that it took them to get there is not at all comfortable or pretty.
What the mother eagle does is that when her babies are old enough, she takes them and throws them right out of the nest so that their bodies go screaming towards the earth at a terrifying speed. Just when the ground is getting closer and closer and they think it is all over, they suddenly feel a thump as they land safely on the mother eagles back. But their relief is short lived as the mother eagle flies them to the top of the nest and starts this process over again. This continues until the babies learn to fly and before long, they are able to soar into the air long before they get close to the ground.
To sum it up, this in a nutshell would be what this season in Canada has been like. It would be a series of events where God allows me to have close calls and situations that freak me out completely. And just when I think that it's all over, help comes through at the last minute. It all feels so uncomfortable and none of it looked or felt pretty. There were many times where I was just so exhausted mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically that I thought that I was seriously not going to make it and the vision of what I am to do in Buenos Aires would never be realized. But I actually see now that God had quite the opposite intention. Every trial he put me through and made me survive was to ensure that the no matter what happens in Buenos Aires, the vision would be realized and I'm not going to quite half way through.
This time trying time that I have just been through has definitely given me loins of steel. I would never want to go through it again but at the end of the day, I am glad that he allowed me to go through so much hardship. And I know that my pain and troubles will be forgotten a few days from now when not only will I be soaring physically on an aircraft on my way to Argentina but my mind, soul, and spirit will be soaring like an eagle seamlessly through the air on magnificent wings :)