Sometimes life lulls you to sleep, and you think things are nice and dull. They may actually be dull and boring. But that’s not how life is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be joyful, bursting at the seams with fruitfulness, no missing teeth, and definitely not requiring reading glasses. I threw that last part in because I’m trialing “mono-vision” contact lenses. You know, where you use one eye for distance, one for reading, and both to create that “I am cock-eyed, and the world looks weird” face as you slowly move from one eye to the next, looking at whatever it is you’re interested in. It’s comical, really. Because you never know how people will take you. I can tell that every once in awhile, people wonder what is up with me. I know I have this far away, out of focused look on my face. That’s simply because things really are out of focus! And my mind is often “far away”. Other times, a person may get the sense that you are making some sort of strange eye contact. “Are you winking at me?” Oh, NO! I am not, I assure you it’s simply the film that has built up on my contact lens, making things very fuzzy. Nice goatee, BTW. Oh, sorry ma’am…
So life will eventually require some inconveniences of you, like reading glasses, and upper or lower plates… I have all of my original teeth BTW (ok, a couple of crowns) for anyone who is interested 🙂 But it WILL exact its price, one way or another. You can live a nice, safe, boring life. And grow fat, and pleasant, and go to your grave satisfied that you’ve avoided all of the major pitfalls that those “other” people had to endure. Poor Cretans. Or you can take a walk on the wild side, step into a few pot holes along the way, wrench your knee and come out with a limp. But have really lived in the process. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said “I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.” He didn’t come to give you a new SUV with all-terrain tires. He came to set you on the road to the cross, and while you may wish you had all-terrain tires for the ride, you’ll end up with a limp instead. Which is fine after all, because it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And while a limp will kill you in a sprint, it won’t matter in marathon.
I remember seeing the Flying Wallenda’s a long time ago on television. They were known for incredible high wire feats, death defying acts requiring nerves of steel, the cool composure of an iceberg, and unshakable trust in one another. And because of these rare traits, they did amazing things for a long time. But as every daredevil knows, your day is coming. It’s not a matter of “if”, but of “when”. That reality was part of what made their lives so “alive”. They were not bullet proof, they would not live forever. That’s what makes our lives beautiful as well. We are fragile, the times of our lives are rare, and we will never pass this way again. What makes a thing valuable is its scarcity, thereby its cost.
Jesus said abundant life was ours, the reason he came. The abundant life may be more hard spots, more miraculous deliverance, more death, and more LIFE than we can imagine. Maybe it’s EVERYTHING in life in super-abundance, to the point where only Christ can be the reason, and the answer. And receives the Glory.
From the outside, that life looks more like the Flying Wallenda’s than anything we would want to admit to. Except that when the inevitable fall came, the nay-sayers back slapping one another with “I told you he’d go down”, believers walking on a road to nowhere with heads hanging low, He appears again. He walks through the wall, eats a fish sandwich, and shows us that life on the wire is only Act 1. We may follow and do great things in His name, and we may be asked to fall in a way similar to his. That’s not the focus, or the end.
If Act 1 is all there is, we had better guard it and live it as safely and extravagantly as we can now. But if Act 2 is near, then the abundant life starts now. And it starts off looking like a seed sown into the ground in corruption. It looks like death. Act 1 is where we get to “do the Wallenda”. Act 2 is where we get to come back, take our curtain call, and then throw our crowns at His feet. For showing us how to live lives of fearless love, for pouring incredible grace and mercy upon us. And leading us along a way we have not known.
My life has taken on a different look. Time to get busy… because Act 2 is coming. FAST