As we observe the season of Advent and anticipate the coming of Jesus into our world, I want to offer a challenge to all of us who follow Jesus.
In a recent column, Liuan Huska wrote, “Our God did what every mother would shudder to do. He sent his child directly into the heart of evil with no protection, save faith, hope and extravagant love. God the Father did not shelter Jesus from the terror and loss of living in our broken, bleeding world. He chose instead to be present with us, to enter into our pain. During Advent, as we prepare our hearts for the arrival of the Christ child, our call is to likewise look pain and darkness full on.”
This too, is the call on the lives of followers of Jesus. To enter in to pain, into the lives of the broken. To be present.
Ms. Huska also says, “Advent, then, is about letting ourselves be disturbed, shaken out of numbness…”
And maybe that is where we, as modern-day followers of Jesus, really struggle. We don’t want to be disturbed.
We live in this town but as we move about every day, how many of us choose to remain blissfully unaware?
How many of us keep a safe distance from different parts of town? How many of us will only allow our children to participate in activities that we deem safe? How many of us know only the people who are like us?
But walk into our homes and you see the cross. And the signs that read, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” and “Go and make disciples…”
But the messages of the cross and of the signs seems to not have made their way to our heart.
Because, how can I follow the great physician, who healed the sick and made His home among the broken and not enter into the hurt of others?
How can I not be concerned for those who are homeless, orphans and poor?
If I’m not concerned about the things Jesus was concerned about, am I truly His follower?
Pastor Andy Stanley says he doesn’t believe that everyone who claims there is no God really believes there is no God. He said, “If there is a God, I’m accountable.” Stanley believes that many claim no God just because they don’t want the responsibilities that go along with following Jesus.
But how many of us, as followers of Jesus, are in the same boat? We want Jesus but just not the responsibilities that go along with being His follower.
So, my challenge is for us as followers of Jesus to enter into the pain of others, help with hurt and heartaches. Be present. Walk through life with those that so many remain isolated from.
As we anticipate the Great Hope entering into this world, let’s bring hope and love to those around us in the same way that Jesus brought hope and love to us all.
Joey Haynes is a follower of Jesus, married way out of his league, has two of the coolest children in the universe and is blessed to work with an amazing community of believers known as The Church at Rome.