the one broken bumper car in the middle of the arena
As I have gotten to know Bethany I have just found her to be so lovable. She is insightful, kind and full of joy. I think you will enjoy her thoughts on colliding with Jesus as much as I have. -Willow
“Hey, let’s just run into each other!”, my older son exclaimed to his little brother. I have to say, I never said that to any of my friends as we played together growing up. Add that to the list of things I never heard until I became a boy mom.
The crazy thing is that my boys crash into each other not to deliberately hurt each other (for once). They’re giggling and rolling and throwing their heads back and cackling. They do it on purpose. They love colliding. They love each other. They collide with each other because they love each other. The love is in the collision itself.
Ever since Willow and the Collide team have invited a room full of women to collide with Jesus, I can’t stop thinking about how we impact one another (positively and negatively, sometimes purposefully, but mostly inadvertently) and how Jesus collided with Bible-people and now-people.
When I was about ten, my mom was in a collision. A dad with too many kids in the back seat for seat belts, who was looking for work painting houses, ran a stop sign and hit my mom’s car. It was a typical dry Texas November with tan grass and leafless trees. This collision showed me a new definition of love, however, as a few weeks later, my mom and I drove an hour to take that family a full Thanksgiving meal, complete with Christmas presents for the kids. I’m still amazed at how she chose to turn that collision into love for that family. She showed me that a collision with Jesus doesn’t slow to a stop before his love impacts another.
Twenty years later, my sweet three-year-old niece and my mom were both diagnosed with cancer a few months apart. I remember kneeling before my toilet, laying on the closed lid, and crying on the purple fuzzy cover, absolutely furious with God. Of all the people in this world to receive ‘the sentence,’ why these two precious loves? In this case, my crash with God looked more like me pounding on his chest in anger. He lovingly absorbed my blows, showing me that he’s big enough to handle my questions, doubts, fears, anger. He loved me enough not to ignore me. He loved me enough not to chastise me. He loved me enough to let me collide into him. I was coming at him in anger. He was absorbing my impact in love. There was still love within that collision.
I’ve been struck lately by a group of friends who sought out Jesus. They had heard about Jesus and knew he could heal their friend’s useless legs. As Jesus was teaching in a home, the friends didn’t let a crowded house stop them from getting to Jesus. No problem, guys. Let’s just climb up to the roof and RIP IT OFF. Are you crazy? Maybe. So come on, let’s crash the party. Seriously? How desperate do you have to be to destroy someone’s home for a shot at healing for your buddy? But these guys do it! I don’t know whose crazy hairbrained idea it was–the lame guy himself or one of his apparently very loyal friends–but somebody knew enough about Jesus to get this guy to him at any cost. Talk about a collision–they were about to crash down on Jesus’ head!
What gets me just as much as ripping a hole in an ever-loving ceiling is that Jesus is completely fine with it. Not only is he fine, but says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” What do faulty legs have to do with a sinful heart? Something that I noticed this time was that Jesus tells the friends that he healed the man not because of the man’s faith, but because of the friends’ faith. This encourages me. I used to pray for people but be discouraged when they didn’t see God working in their lives. This shows me that God will work in others’ lives on behalf of those who pray for them. Love was in that collision for all involved.
Then, rather than explaining why this guy has lame legs, Jesus says to the religious know-it-alls in the room, “which is easier, to forgive that man or to tell him to get up and walk?” Hmm. Well, shouldn’t it be easier to just speak away someone’s dirty little secrets than make a mat-bound man’s legs suddenly work? Then I think about how seemingly easy it has been for Jesus up until this point to heal various people of all kinds of problems. He healed all kinds of people from all kinds of things. But forgiving sins? That required a bloody march up a hill carrying his own beams. That required a collision with death high up on a Roman torture instrument. Forgiveness of sins required the life-less coming back to life: in that present and for the always future.
What’s crazy to me is that Jesus heals the man both physically and spiritually. He forgave his sin and fixed his legs. He answered his “or” question with “and.” In love, the friends crashed their friend into Jesus. In love, Jesus returns the impact with whole healing. Love was in the collision.
Sometimes I feel like the one broken bumper car in the middle of the arena, being crashed into by life. Illness. Boom. Finances. Crash. Relationships. Oof. I need to get on the roof and saw it open to reach Jesus. Turns out he’s been waiting. He wants me to crash into him. He meets me, us, you, with healing and forgiveness. The love is in the collision.
Very well said Bethany!
“But forgiving sins? That required a bloody march…” Such a powerful post, Bethany and an important reminder to engage in colliding! Thank you.