Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Too Extreme?

"A life given wholly to spiritual things isn't 'real life,'" someone might protest. 

"You can't just spend all your time in prayer. You have to do normal things, too. You have to have balance." 

"That lifestyle is so far removed from normal life. Consider the great percentage of time you give to that one thing."

I think of Nick and Tessa, a couple from Ellerslie who is getting married this Thursday. They have chosen to reject the traditional "American Dream" model of life and they live full time in prayer and the gospel. No regular source of income promises to provide for their needs. Nick, especially, is given to prayer, dedicating hours every day to the secret place. 

I can just hear the spluttering protests of the world. "But! But! But!" they exclaim. "Why can't you be like normal people? Why do you have to do that one thing so much? Isn't that going a little overboard?" 

You know, it's funny. 

I was sitting in the airport on Monday, facing a window that overlooked the tarmac. It was an area of bustling activity, and I watched luggage trucks cart suitcases back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. 

Suitcases, suitcases, and more suitcases. 

Always the same thing: Lift and fling the suitcases, truck them to the next location, scurry back and forth with more suitcases, always lugging suitcases. 

Take a typical employee working out there. The same guy probably drives the suitcase truck every day. I wouldn't be surprised if he lugs suitcases around for the entirety of his 8-hour shift (whoa! 8 hours???). He may have been working at the same job for 5, 10, or 20 years, or more. 

Yet no one chides the suitcase truck driver for being overboard, off-balance, or extreme. No one questions the great percentage of time he dedicates to doing that one thing. No one feels puzzled that his lifestyle is so far removed from "normal life."

Just consider how abnormal this is. The guy's suitcase truck could be used for SO many different purposes. It has cargo space in the back that would lend itself easily to so many different tasks. Why not be like normal people and incorporate variety? He could haul hay bales, UPS packages, groceries, or people. Why should his service be so narrow, so confined? Wouldn't life be more interesting if he had a little balance? Wouldn't it be better for him and everyone else if he made sure to incorporate some normal variety in his routine? I mean, surely, it's a little overboard to just do that one thing.

Even the sphere of his driving is not normal. It's confined to one airport. Most people, when they drive, choose different roads, go to various cities, and take trips of different lengths. They drive in both urban and rural areas. Sometimes they drive because they have to, and sometimes they drive because they want to. They drive different vehicles, some larger, some smaller, some quick and sporty, some large and lumbering.

But this guy! He drives the same truck every day! It's large and lumbering. It's ugly. It's painted a boring white like all the other baggage carts. It's dusty. The blue curtains on it are dingy. It's not fast. And he never goes where he wants, only where he is told. What in the world?

Shouldn't someone be championing the cause of the poor suitcase truck driver? Shouldn't there be a general public outcry whenever they hear of someone taking that job?

No, there shouldn't.

How easy it is to see it when you put it in these terms. How absurd we would think it if the suitcase truck started living for "variety" and "balance" and so started carrying hay bales and taking road trips.

Yet what is the difference?

•  Both the prayer warrior and the suitcase truck are built for a specialized purpose.
•  Both operate in a limited sphere, doing only what they are told.
•  Both occupy themselves with receiving burdens and carrying to the proper place. The prayer warrior carries his burdens to the throne, while the suitcase truck carries them to the plane.

The only difference is, while the suitcase truck driver's job is admittedly mind numbing and tedious, the prayer warrior's job is exhilarating!

He gets to participate in the stuff of heaven being brought to earth!

He gets to do very real battle against enemy forces in the heavenly realms.

He gets to be spent in a cause that is greater and grander than himself and involves the will of the very King of Kings being brought to bear upon the souls of mankind.

Yes, there is a sacrifice involved. Yes, it requires that you be built by God in a very specialized way. Yes, it takes a lot of time that other people get to use on other things.

But let it not be said that prayer is not "real life." Let it not be said that making prayer your business is "overboard" or "extreme."

And just as we expect the airport to pay the suitcase truck driver, would we not expect the God who sits on the throne to plentifully reward His burden bearer with everything that is needful for life in this world? God places great value on His burden bearers. They are far greater heroes in Heaven's economy than the suitcase truck drivers are in ours.

If you know a prayer warrior, honor him, rather than giving him undue grief about his calling. It's not necessary to enlighten him about "the way the world works."

If you are a prayer warrior, onward! Stop your ears at the world's cries of "Be normal!" "Be Balanced!" Trusting your God to provide for you is not extreme. Dedicating your time to Him is not overboard. People in the world do exactly the same thing for their masters all the time. Therefore embrace your calling. Delight in living entirely outside the world's system. Revel in being inexplicable. And watch how God supplies everything that is needful.

1 comment:

  1. This post is incredible. I, too, have thought about how this world (and the church) deems a person who spends hours in prayer as abnormal. However, if we want that grappling hook to truly bring the promises of God to this earth, we must yield and let Him to make us prayer warriors.

    Thanks so much for posting! :)


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