And the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fell from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven." (Luke 10:17-20)
The table turned. i was the one doing all the talking, trying to figure out something that troubled me. i typed it like it was; everything that i felt like saying, i told him. With a friend like him, i need not hide behind highly stylized good Christian language. In a few sentences, sound and strong, and exact, he spoke into my situation. i found myself falling into a puddle of tears. The knot that i was tied up in came undone. With that tightness coming loose, i felt released from a heavy darkness. i allowed my tears to wash me. i allowed Jesus to love me through a friend.
In the early hours of the morning, while i sat with the Lord with this giant knot in my soul, i struggled to make any sense of it all. i could not figure it out. i could not pray. i could not hear Him. When i heard my phone sing out that little tune, i looked at it and found a message from him. i poured it all out in my reply to him. On the other side of the world, he replied, and spoke of God's love. He spoke of who Jesus is for me. He brought me back to the Centre, and spoke into my confusion. He was the friend Jesus brought to see into places i could not see. In that strength, spoken in much sensitivity and gentleness, he brought me back to the heart of God.
This is the friend i had disqualified because he does not attend church.
God does not cease to continuously challenge my prejudice. He is constantly poking at my religiosity. He is not done highlighting to me how upside-down my believes are as compared to His. He is keen to show me what i value and what i search for is so unlike His. Truly, walking with Jesus is a journey of the heart - a transformation of the heart. Jesus had at one point talked to me about this friend. He wants me to simply love him. The Spirit showed me that he has enough people to condemn him, not by their words, but by their actions. By their actions, he has enough people to show him how wayward he is; how rebellious he is. By their actions, he has enough "friends" tell him how far he had fallen from the narrow path. He does not need another to critique how poorly he is, or dissect his theology, or scrutinize his issues, his lifestyle. He does not need another voice to tear him down. He has not turned away from God, he has only turned away from the hypocrisy that he has encountered. He is rebellious against a very religious spirit. He is angry at how Jesus is portrayed in places not like Him. He is in a place where he needs a true friend, not another preacher whose actions spoke louder than his words.
Jesus wants me to simply love him as a true friend. And i do that holding on tightly to the Spirit, with utmost care, leaning only upon Him for guidance, trusting not on my own understanding. It means, sometimes, to intercede for him when the Spirit moves me there. It means to protect him in my prayers, and cover him. It means to ask, and keep on asking the Father to send true friends into his physical world, and call him back into true fellowship. It means, many times to simply accept him, to give him time. To allow him to lump and dump (as he has allowed me) what is heavy on his soul. To listen with my heart, and by the Spirit (as he has done for me). While others segregate him, and punish him by the withdrawal of their friendship, i am here to simply love him. i am here to speak into his strengths, to draw out Jesus who is in him, and highlight what he has in his hands to give, to contribute. True friendship is a two-way relationship. i learned once again, it means i am to be loved by him as well; i am to take that position of vulnerability to receive from him. And have him present the heart of God to me as only he can. i have learned that i so need what he is able to give at the proper time.
Many have a love for the power of God, but i am on a journey to discover how to move in the power of God's love. And a huge part of this discovery, i have come to see, is to be able to receive His love from wherever, and whomever He chooses to love us with. And i am always astounded by His choice every time.