Last night, we somehow managed to get our entire tribe under one roof by 10:30pm. This in itself is a feat deserving of a post of it’s own, but it’s not the point of this one. For a change, all the ones who depended on Kelsey and I to get to sleep were actually asleep fairly early, and it offered a perfect opportunity to cash in on the currency that facilitates function in our world – sleep.
So of course, I stayed up another hour.
I didn’t intend on it. In fact, I thought I’d see the pillow along with the rest of them. I made the mistake – or had the good fortune – of taking a minute to check out the webcast from a conference at the International Church of Las Vegas.
The team at ICLV are good friends of mine. We worked closely in bringing TheCall Las Vegas together in 2007 and we’ve kept in touch since then. I tuned in hoping to see a friend or two and hear what the band was playing, then go get some sleep.
Instead, I was shanghai’d by Bishop Joseph Garlington.
Garlington’s message was not complicated or even that challenging (although I was mesmerized for a while by his shirt….). His presentation was profoundly simple….and it roped me in for a good hour. He had me from hello, as they say, when he announced flatly “As Britney Spears said to her second husband, I won’t keep you long.”
After a flurry of twitter direct messages between myself and the ICLV tech crew confirming “yes, he really did say that….”, the good bishop dropped the bomb on me, by telling a story of sitting in bed next to his wife and praying “God….if you’re doing anything on the earth right now, I want to be a part of it.”
And with that, I was done. I listened for another 40 minutes or so, but I never got far past that prayer. “If you’re doing anything on the earth right now, I want to be a part of it.”
The supposition of the question is absurd, of course. “If you’re doing anything on the earth right now…”. As if to say “Not sure if you’re working today or not, God, but if you are…”. Of course He is. The question is not “Do you have a plan, God?” but rather “Can I get in on it?”. I want to be a part of it. Whatever you’re doing, I want a piece of the action. Don’t leave me to sit and hear about it later.
It’s the spiritual equivalent of looking into Zoe’s eyes every time I run an errand. She loves to go along, even if it means a long trip in the car seat. If I slip on my shoes and grab my keys, invariably, those big brown eyes say “Take me with you….”.
I stared at the screen for a good while after that, but spent most of the time ruminating on his prayer and resonating with it’s hunger. If you’re doing anything on the earth God, I want to be a part of it. Take me with you.
The past six years have been years of incredible personal growth. I have learned more about God, His plan for the planet, and where I fit in than I did in the previous 35 years of life. That said, it’s easy to assume I know exactly where this thing is going and exactly how He should get it there. Study hard enough and you can know Him with mathematical precision…
But I don’t. In fact, my assumptions are often more than a few degrees of kilter. He’s less like algebra, more like Aslan. Good but not tame or safe. All at once unpredictable and inviting. I’m not as sure of His plan as I’d like to think, but I want to be a part of it. Oh God, whatever you’re doing, take me with you.
This morning, I find myself praying Garlington’s prayer. It harkens me back to a time when I knew less but wanted more. Back in those days, I regularly found myself on the verge of overwhelmed at the thought of what might be. Today, as I drove to the prayer room, I found my heart reaching back in time to those days and dragging that hunger forward, joining my prayers of then with my prayers of now.
God, if You’re doing anything on the earth, I want to be a part of it.
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