I haven’t had Internet access in over a month. Talk about #firstworldproblems. I’ve been okay with it really, except for the fact that I haven’t been able to post any blogs for all of you super loyal readers. I actually still lack Internet at my apartment, but I am going to great lengths to make this post happen, because it’s important to me.
It’s not even my own post. I know what you’re thinking, “Katherine, your stupid blog isn’t popular enough for you to have guest posts.” And I am well aware of that. Shut up!
A dear friend of mine had some words in her head that she needed to get out, and for some reason has given me the awesome responsibility to post it for her. If you’ve read ANY of my blogs (probably not) you will know that I love being raw and real and dirty…and this girl is living that life. She wants to remain anonymous, but I could not take credit for her wise words. She has encouraged me so much, especially over the past year, so I am pumped that she’s allowing me to blast her junk to the world! So while she risks it all to continue sharing Truth, I am going to risk getting in trouble at work by posting this blog.
Jesus was journeying through the Sea of Galilee when he saw two brothers fishing- Simon (called Peter for most of the Gospels) and Andrew, self-employed fishermen during a lucrative time to be in the business. Simon was married. He probably had a family. Andrew may have been as well, but John-Mark (the writer of Mark) never really tells us. Mark 1:17 says Jesus came upon them and said “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men,” and just like that, they dropped their nets and did exactly what he said.
They were not poor or desperate, at least according to scholarship. They had families, prosperous business, and probably a decent future by a Galilean’s standards. How was Jesus so compelling? Did they hear the prophesies of John the Baptist or read the oracles of Isaiah of the promised Messiah in their midst? If they thought He was the Messiah, perhaps they were seeking power, glory, and political freedom. If they thought He was a prophet, maybe they were seeking moral supremacy, fame, and approval before men and God. I don’t think they were following Jesus because they were desperate for someone to save them from their sin and restore them to right relationship with Himself. But, whatever the case, they intentionally tossed aside, or at least paused their lives, to follow Jesus. They dropped their nets- never to pick them up again. They had no idea they were following a man who was crucifying their human kingdoms with each step they took after Him.
In a lot of ways, I think my life shadows these four men. When I was in college, there was nothing wrong with my life by American standards. I had a romance. I had dreams. I had a bright future full of athletic and academic success. And then Jesus came into my life, and said ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ When I met Him, I knew that my heart had finally come face to face with the Object of its yearnings and strivings, but even then I had no idea I was destroying my life by following after Him. I thought I was just enhancing and cleaning it at first, and then putting it on hold for a few years…I think a lot of my reasons for every step of following Christ in my core have been riddled with pride, selfish ambition, and conceit. I wanted His Kingdom, while keeping my old one too. I forgot that Jesus was waging war against it; tearing it down brick by brick- that following Him was treachery against everything I stood for before Him.
If I am learning anything on the mission field, it is that I am sinful to the core; I am diseased and ravaged by the evil of the kingdom I once called mine. My heart betrays Him everyday, just like Simon Peter. But what I think is so beautiful is that Jesus chose to build His kingdom on men who were following Him for all the wrong reasons, and yet He still, like a loving Shepherd, took them on the journey, transforming their fickle hearts along the way. They hindered, denied, and abandoned Him, but still He wooed them, like a lover, unto Himself. His love won.
When I was forging my own kingdom, I was always looking down, slaving ahead, never able to enjoy even the fruits of my own labor. There was always more to build, more to maintain, more to guard. It is painful, confusing, and surprising to abandon the labor of my ‘nets’. He is constantly ruining my expectations, crushing my dreams, and hurting my pride- but like the disciples, I’m often so focused on the crumbling ‘kingdom of nets’ I’m leaving behind, that I don’t see the Eternal Kingdom He is creating before my own eyes. He hasn’t taken me on this journey to make much of me, but to set me free to marvel at Him as I witness Him take my once dead, crippled soul and do un-foretold ‘magic’ with it. I watch the Creator and Lover of my soul breathe truth and love into my heart, and it overflows with life, like a bubbling brook, into the people around me. Everything He has done in me, He has done in such a way that I can only point and say- it was all Him; I did nothing but open my hands and beg. He has taken a proud work-a-holic and has made her into a humble beggar. I have been set free to cherish and enjoy the gifts He places in my hands, and marvel at the miracles He works before my own eyes. He strips me of my own power, making me needy, drawing me to lie down in green pastures by still waters, or leading me through the darkened valley of the shadow of death – all that I might taste and see the sweetness of how deeply He loves me, and how powerfully faithful and fearsome He is.
My glory dies. But then again, the closer I draw to the King of Glory, the less I care. It’s the difference between beholding a sunset and instagram-ing one. Yes, capturing a #nofilter sunset is awesome, but beholding its tangible beauty, truly basking in its splendor on a mountain, beach, or field… I’d rather see one real, breathtaking sunset than have 1000 instagrams of one. It’s not about MY picture anymore; it’s about the sun. I didn’t begin following Jesus out of unadulterated desire to worship Him. But every step He takes me deeper on the journey, the more I find myself awestruck at His majesty and the blissfully at center of His affections. He is the Author of my faith, the Cleanser of my soul, and the Molder of my heart. I am the deeply loved, yet humbled and adoring clay.
I think the disciples came to Jesus to gain something for themselves, as did I. I know they stayed because the discovered He was all they ever needed. I am learning He is all I have ever needed and wanted. Everyday He makes me let go of something else to make more room for Him, taking yet another step away from my crumbling kingdom. He weakens me more, so I look up and beg from Him, hands open, heart yearning. And that’s when I see Him move most ferociously, like Lewis’s Aslan, passionately redeeming me and fiercely conquering the world. He is making a beggar of me, and by that I have gained infinitely more than I ever made for myself on my own. And the bonus is that I get to come alongside of other women and guide them away from their instagrams so they can experience a real ‘sunset’. Then, I just let the ‘Sun’ do its thing and take their breath away- no filter.