If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
I’ve been traveling all over lately as I wrap up my seminary work. On Monday I had the privilege of walking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I nearly got blown off of it, but it was a good time. Afterwards I went off on my own to explore Golden Gate park for 20 minutes before our bus left. Trails wound around near the base of the bridge. I followed one lone path that led to a fabulous old tunnel. There was only one problem. One side of the tunnel was tall enough that you could walk right in. But 20 yards later, the exit of the tunnel was only four feet tall. It was like there was a modern day Alice-In-Wonderland thing going on, except you didn’t shrink along with the tunnel. You whacked your head instead. Sure, there was a sign outside of the small end that said “CAUTION,” but that wasn’t much help if you entered through the big side on a bike or running along without a warning!
Thankfully, this time I was moving slowly enough to notice. Then I saw someone coming in from the other side who was in a position to see what I couldn’t. It got me thinking.
Some things can only be seen from the side you’re not on. Some things can only be noticed by someone looking at what you’re doing and where you’re going, and you might not see it otherwise.
When I was on the small side of the tunnel, a group quickly came through in the other direction. I said, “watch your head!”, hoping that I could keep them from a bit of pain. I’m sure that some people notice what’s about to happen. But I guarantee you that there have been concussions when the tunnel narrows and people aren’t seeing it. That’s why others can be so helpful. It’s one of the ways God speaks to us.
In the Jesus life, we talk about the importance of relationships all the time. But I think sometimes we lack the courage to take our friendships deeper by humbly inviting insights and cautions from each other. We all have tunnels in our lives that get narrow before we notice. We cruise along, full of stress, busy schedules, and other weights that Jesus didn’t intend us to bear alone. And we don’t always look up enough to notice that the light at the end of the tunnel…. is getting smaller! Look out!!!
We are never as self aware as we like to think we are. Disciples of Jesus need to embrace the practice of asking for help from each other. Recently, as my masters degree has completed, I’ve been required to participate in asking others what they see ahead of me and within me. And whether it is affirming or challenging, what a gift it is to hear someone who loves you share what they see in you! If we learn how to receive, few things can be more transformative in us. Will you join me in committing to this practice more often? Who are you walking with that can help you see what you might not see ahead of you? Perhaps it’s a caution because you’re missing something that could be damaging in your life. Perhaps it’s something that is emerging in your life that may bring some new direction, but you can’t quite see it yet.
Ask someone close to you:
What do you see ahead of me?
Where do you see God at work?
What dangers or beauty might I be missing?
The responses of a loving friend can be a gift, even if it feels a bit scary. Ask a few trusted people those questions. Take time to pray about what they say, and invite Jesus to light the way for the direction to take. It takes humility on all sides, but it’s the way of the beautiful life that Jesus intended for us to experience together.
By the way… the other side of the tunnel, once I was aware of where I was going, was filled with light, refreshing breeze, and a beautiful view of the expanse of San Francisco Bay.
So it is when Jesus gives us people in our lives to help us move together toward God’s redemption and direction.
Don’t be afraid. We need each other.
Jesus, help me welcome opportunities for growth that I may not be able to see on my own.