Believing in God is an unnatural practice. Praying is unnatural. Giving to people we’ve never met is unnatural, and actions that are unnatural to us are uncomfortable. Here’s the vibe I’ve been getting from the Bible: It all seems pretty crazy. I’m not saying that I don’t believe every word is true. I’m saying that God, to us, is alien.
Jesus produced some amazing miracles, but, again, lately, I’ve been getting a different vibe from the Bible. I used to read the stories about Jesus believing that he never felt uncomfortable. I believed that when he healed strangers of their ailments, he wasn’t uncomfortable stepping out at all. I used to see Jesus as a character who was rock solid with his nerves. I read the stories about him like it was a Hollywood movie. In the end, Jesus wins, and how Jesus felt as he was performing the miracles was the same as how it reads. He wasn’t affected by his strange actions. He felt great. He felt normal. He felt like he was doing the natural thing.
And, truthfully, I don’t know how Jesus felt while performing tasks that would have made a regular person feel like he was wearing his underwear on his head, but I do know that no matter how foreign Jesus felt, he still did what his Father wanted. Take the story of Lazarus for example (John 11:1-43). At the end of the story, Jesus goes to a tomb that contains the decaying corpse of the man Lazarus. Jesus asks some men to open the tomb, and the men tell Jesus that opening the tomb is a bad idea. Why? It stinks in there! But Jesus has the men do the work anyway, and then Jesus calls into the dark tomb to the man that had been dead for four days. Sound kind of crazy? Well, Lazarus walks out, probably feeling dumbfounded, lost and wondering why everybody is staring at him.
There are times when I believe God tells me to do something, but that something seems illogical, abnormal, defiantly unnatural, alien, uncommon, nerve racking, stupid, ridiculous or unsettling. I’m not talking about yelling and screaming and swan diving over the pews in church. I’m talking about obedience. I’m talking about hearing God’s voice and completing the task that is completely out of pattern with what I had been doing, that is completely out of pattern with who I am as a person, with my plan for life, with the way I see myself. Am I okay with that? Are my nerves on end when I have to do something that isn’t like me at all? Yup, absolutely. When something seems odd, then I feel odd, but that’s how we grow. Right? We can’t change if we aren’t willing to do stuff that seems out of place with who we are.
Jesus didn’t let his anxiety stop him from performing unorthadox work. In fact, Paul writes that none of us should do anything out of anxiety. Jesus said that if we ask, we will receive. If we knock, the door will be open to us, and that sounds pretty great. It also sounds pretty crazy, but here’s some logic. To get something that sounds crazy, then we are going to have to do something that sounds crazy to get it. We are going to have to defy the norm, rid the accepted and throw out the safe. We are going to have to stretch our faith to ballistic levels. We are going to have to do everything the Father wants us to do.
Let’s keep this in perspective. Let’s not be crazy for the sake of being crazy. This isn’t an excuse to sin, nor is it an excuse to act wild. This is a call to do what God wants us to do with total disregard for the way we feel. Furthermore, this describes God’s promise to us. Jesus got everything he asked for because he was one with the Father. He did everything the Father wanted him to do while, quite possibly, feeling like an alien in a human world.
“If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I (Jesus) speak on my own” (John 7:17).