When Scripture refers to the ‘aroma of Christ,’ I think of Chuck Colson! My exposure to Chuck began when I first moved to DC. I worked in the Watergate… and if you work at the Watergate, you can’t help but get intrigued! Chuck’s notoriety as one of Nixon’s top advisors whose heart was changed for the Lord in the midst of Watergate’s unraveling. The Lord used Chuck’s prison time to purpose in him a passion for prison reform of eternal impact as well as a passion for moral conviction in society and culture.
When I first moved to DC, I had the opportunity to take a class based on Chuck’s How Now Shall We Live - all about his passion for living redemptively in the contemporary culture. The book itself is fascinating… yet the class was especially fascinating because of its teacher!
The instructor, a friend of Chuck’s, had just had an intense adventure in living redemptively in contemporary culture. His character, his family, his reputation, his motives, and his life were all subject to intense scrutiny, judgment, and accusations as he sought to do the job he was appointed to do.
I had preconceived notions of the instructor based on news clips, but the man I met in person couldn’t have been more different. His name still seems to conjure up emotional responses and opinions well over a decade later, so I’m a little hesitant to mention it. But what stood out to me about this class is that he wasn’t just teaching academic principles about how to live redemptively in contemporary culture. He wasn’t just teaching theological musings. He, like Chuck, had lived through years of what he euphemistically referred to as the “recent unpleasantness.” The toil on his family, the impact on him personally, the attacks on his character and motives – they wrapped it up into that little term: “recent unpleasantness.”
It’s a season I’m guessing they wouldn’t wish on anyone. But that refiner’s fire forced him to cling to the Word and the Lord such that he knew the power and truths of the challenges of living redemptively in contemporary culture. He didn’t just know them – he *knew* them. He owned them. He breathed them. He clung to them. And he knew and lived them like he’d never done before.
And when he was passionate about a point, it wasn’t because he wanted people to think highly of him academically. And it wasn’t because he wanted to enter into a theological debate.
It was because he *knew* – he had experienced such that he knew that he knew that he knew – the power of the Lord for redemption in trials.
That’s something that can only come from a season of “recent unpleasantness.”
It can only come from a refiner’s fire.
My heart for this blog comes from a similar place. My thoughts here aren’t simply theological musings and academic principles. I don’t belabor particular points just for torture’s sake. : ) They aren’t the result of a bunch of years of seminary – though I believe the Lord did use some wise people along to the way to guide, encourage, and challenge me. They aren’t the result of memorizing a bunch of Greek – though I believe He has used that to help me understand. They aren’t the result of philosophical musings, and they certainly aren’t a desire to make up a bunch of ‘rules’! Uck!
They are a result of wrestling with the Lord… and wrestling… and wrestling… and wrestling… through years of my own “recent unpleasantness.”
They come after years of seeking Him for clarity, insight, and wisdom. After crying out to Him when I’ve felt like I could cry out no longer. After hurting and hurting and hurting. After helping others who are scarred. After struggling with the Lord to help me understand. And after begging Him for hope and healing.
After hurting and aching and pleading and healing and exhausting and trying and resting and seeking.
After way too much “recent unpleasantness.”
These are the things I believe the Lord is showing me.
These are the things I passionately believe can transform relationships ~ for His Glory!
photo credit: my talented husband at www.davebattle.com