I was on the outside
When you said you needed me
I was looking at myself
I was blind, I could not see

If you walk away... I will follow
~U2
    Here's a bit for the times when we don't understand what's behind what God is doing (when it seems that He's walking away...):

     I heard a fantastic teaching tonight from Dave Reise's Bible Study on the part in Matthew (end of chapter 8, beginning on chapter 9) when Jesus calms the storm and then heals the paralytic.  I'll give an overview of the text for those too lazy to read it themselves.

The Nora-fied version of Matthew 8:18-9:8.
      Alright, So Jesus has just healed a bunch of people in Capernum (the Centaurions servent, a paralytic, and Peter's Mom in Law). Then this one teacher guy comes up to Jesus and tells him that he'll follow Jesus wherever He goes, and Jesus warns him that the road will be tough (v. 20, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head"). And what do you know, the next thing Jesus does is drag his boys across the sea of Galilee  and through a violent storm.  We all know the story--the disciples freak out and Jesus tells them they have little faith.  So, after all that chaos, Jesus drags the holy posse to this one town, heals two demon possessed nutcases by transferring their demons to fatal pigs, and is immediately kicked out of the town (or they ask him to leave so he does...interesting).  What next? Jesus hops right back in the boat and it's back to the sea.  Sounds like a lot of work for two lousy healings...

Dave's interpretation, also Nora-fied...
    It must have been quite a trip to be a disciple on this voyage.  Jesus dragged them all over, and what was their responsibility? Only to be a witness.  They didn't
do anything but follow.  But they were witnesses to the glorious fact that Jesus risked His life (and theirs) through a major storm for the healing of those two men--risked the lives of dozens for the sake of two.  Where's the common sense in that? There is none, only grace. 
     In ridding the men of the demons, he set them free; He restored their freedom to choose to follow Jesus that was hindered by their possessed-state. But what about the thousands of others in the town who had their freedom?  Jesus respected their freedom too, as he honored their request for Him to leave.

The Nora interpretation/application
      My life seems so similar to the disciples during this story.  I choose to follow Jesus and he leads me in places that are quite dangerous. I flip out during the danger, God tells me to chill out and have some faith, and finally he calms the storm and does something miraculous.  And sometimes I get caught up in "what am I supposed to be doing?" and forget that God does the work and I am the witness. 
       God can go in places we can't, but we follow Him there and watch Him do the work, Dave emphasized how no one but Jesus could do anything for those possesed men.  Just like no one but Jesus can reach that person for whom you've been praying and witnessing for months. Just like no one but Jesus can keep a strong faith in a politically correct battle-field like UofM.

     I went to a campus church and they sang this song with a dreadful chorus: "I'm gonna be a History maker in this land."  How awful to spend a good 10 minutes telling God what "
I'm gonna do."  Now, maybe you have an argument with my interpretation, but I know this: I'm not going to be anything in this land worthwhile, God does all that work.  I am only the following witness, even when He leads me into the craziest places. Before spring break I was telling God that I was sorry, but I didn't think that I could survive in the theater dept and for close to him.  He spent spring break telling me "Sweetie, you think you could survive anywhere else? Quit running from the world and just follow me. I'll tell you where to go."  The scary thing is that God puts us in situations that look dangerous sometimes.  We can't judge by our oh-so- limited common sense whether or not something is "safe enough to take on."   We don't follow Jesus for safety.  We follow him for Grace.  And grace defies the  understanding of this world. (She travels outside kharma, right Bono?).

Stop worrying if you're doing things right and
Follow Jesus, even when He takes you places so outragious it looks as if  He's walking away.

March 14, 2002
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for more U2 quotes, also see Walk On, and Lawd Have Mercy
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