Suicide & Conversion exchange fear & faith

Kingdom Principle: You are designed to be filled, in order to be poured out.

Being filled is an act of the Spirit (establishes Authority), being poured is to advance the Kingdom (demonstrates Power)

Deuteronomy 18:15-20 Psalm 111 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 Mark 1:21-28

Suicide & Conversion are both an act of faith. Both recognize that life is not worth living in the current state of being. Both have given up the hope that they can do it on their own. Both are willing to die to see what is on the other side…. Below is my story attempting to swallow the realities of my own conversion in becoming filled with the Spirit and being poured out as a prophet which becomes an act of suicide.

If you just want bullet points of learning – skip the narrative – read below.

While I was enjoying the beach on day – Jesus said,  – “Come and Follow me” and off to the water he went. Heading for the water, he did not look back. (I assumed that we were going to fish…) There was no hesitation in following, (in this I was proud) with excitement the usual shock of the cold water did not set in – rather quickly we began swimming into the waves. (This was not what I expected, but what did that matter, I was following.) At about 50 yards out, he looked back again at me and said, “Follow me”.  Before I could respond – He dove beneath the water. At about 10 feet below he began to point out many beautiful things – I wanted to stay there with him, but had to return to the surface for air. He did not follow me – so I quickly took a breath and returned. This repeated for an hour – I’d dive down for 1-3 minutes at a time, returning to the surface to breath then to dive again –  until I was so exhausted, I could barely make it back to shore. When arrived there, Jesus was waiting for me on the beach.

The next day – I returned to the beach, with great excitement I found Jesus waiting there for me and he said, “Follow me”, and we went to the same spot, this time I came prepared with goggles, fins, and snorkeling gear – I saw others out there doing the same – when we reached the spot again – this time I was prepared to hover on the surface, but this time he went deeper, and my emotions switched from enjoyment to fear, and Jesus clearly said at 18 feet – “Follow me”.  So did and holding my breath – until my lungs began to burn – I followed – until at the very last moment, I could hardly imagine any more pain without death – I rose to the surface and immediately returned to shore.  Exhausted, Feeling like a failure and disappointed I decided that Jesus was asking too much of me. Yet, then it came to me that if I learn to SCUBA – I could spend more time with Jesus.

After 6 weeks and lots of money invested I was ready to go back to swim with Jesus. I returned to the spot, where I had last swam with Jesus, but Jesus was not there.  I decided that since I worked so hard to get there that I might as well look around and practice all that I had learned since last I had been at this spot. To my great surprise as I began to dive –  there was an entire flock of people SCUBA diving – but no Jesus to be found. It was more beautiful than I imagined and there were times that I forgot that I had come here to see Jesus. I asked around for Jesus, but no one really wanted to talk about that, the focus was on amazing things that could be found.  I learned that many had returned to the surface to invite others to the dive, and teaching them to SCUBA but leaving out, that it was Jesus who led them to this place.

Then one day I discovered that Jesus was hanging out again in about 10 feet of water. Many snorkelers hovered over him,  SCUBA divers looked up at him. I decided to ask Jesus why he was there at 10 feet and not with others – neither at the surface or below with the divers– He simply said – “Follow me…” this time I was ready; and Jesus said “Good, now take off the SCUBA gear.”  I did not object, but I did not understand. Why is it that now, after taking the time to learn how to follow Jesus (with the necessary gear and certifications) thinking that I was ready, Jesus was not leading the way?  Jesus said, “Follow me & Drink” – it is beyond my understanding, but with the stoppage of time – we discussed my inability to do this – and he said Drink.  I opened my mouth and it began to be filled with water – and as I expected I began to choke and then what followed was no surprise, I  felt life leave my body. But instead of floating to the surface, I was given in the most incredible freedom I never imagined –my body transformed and my lugs could breathe under water and Jesus was now off swimming ahead – He showed me the wonders of the sea – and said – you do not “need” to return to the surface, but I am – so I followed Him.

What I quickly realized once at the surface was that I could no longer breathe above the water as I could before. It was revealed to me that as long as I was with Jesus, he filled my lungs with living water. If I was to wander away from Jesus, I now had to hold my breath above water… then this reality set in, life would never be the same – I had a choice to make. I could return to the sea, leaving not only my previous life, but all my relationships and responsibilities behind, (Jesus gave this as an option) or I would be “forced” to walk on earth only where Jesus leads.  There was one other options, but it was not really an option to me – I could return to my previous life on earth without Jesus, but this then would result in death once more…. the choice was easy and the burden was light.

 I was not in the world, but not of the world, in a way I never imagine. My life was completely dependent on my immediate and intimate connection with Jesus as all times. And yet, It was as if Jesus was leading me right back to where I was prior to the first day I dove to 10 feet of water.  This led me to pondered the living water filling my lungs; the Lord was mysteriously depositing unlimited “gallons” of grace and truth, wisdom and power in me, yet how might I share that reservoir with others?– How large of “spout” did I have to work with…? I imagined pressing 1000 gallons through a baby bottle or medicine dropper verses a fire hose nozzle. My journey of discipleship is no longer about how to get more of Jesus, rather I understand the the command to love others can not be my sole obsession.

There are many ways the church has tried to increase your “spout”, but as the story above captures, we are most resistant to actually allowing living water to fill our lungs. It is easy to focus on tools to increase our “spout”, or on the “tools” such as snorkeling or SCUBA to get close to Jesus, but do not result in our being filled with Jesus. 

This metaphor helps me to deeply ponder what it means to live in the Kingdom (Abiding with Jesus and having living waters flowing from my heart). The Kingdom was not under the sea… The Kingdom is the rule and reign (leading) of Jesus on heaven & earth.  Salvation comes to those who die with Christ,  but there is so much more to living with Jesus and that is only found in the Kingdom.

The Church has grown comfortable swimming close to the shore in no more than 10 feet of water.  The church has offered swimming classes and built huts by the shore, but in reality very few ever enter the water. To enter the water is to embrace weakness (I can’t do it on my own) and death. In order for me to follow Jesus – I must be willing to die – the absurdity of swallowing salt water as the way to find life. In order for me to live, I must not fear my death, rather I must re-enter my “world” with Love that is not my own.

Quick Learning Points:

Kingdom Principle: You are designed to be filled, in order to be poured out.

Being filled is an act of the Spirit (establishes Authority), being poured is to advance the Kingdom (demonstrates Power)

About chaplaincasey

In my Community I am a Chaplain, Coach and Catalyst.
This entry was posted in Epiphany, Year B and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Suicide & Conversion exchange fear & faith

  1. Pingback: Suicide & Conversion – are they so far apart? | confrontingchaos

  2. Pingback: I’m not lost, I’m just looking for more… | confrontingchaos

  3. Pingback: Life is messy – control it and miss the point. | confrontingchaos

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