All Things are Possible
One of my favorite church activities is being assigned a “Secret Sister” for the year.
Around Christmas, our women’s group has a party, and each of us receives a Secret Sister. We learn all about her interests and hobbies, birthday, favorite foods, and so forth.
This year, my Secret Sister wrote on her form that she loves butterflies. While I’ve never been a butterfly gal myself, I can appreciate why others are. So I set about finding some items for her. I didn’t realize there was a glut of butterfly merchandise these days. I bought a few items that didn’t look as though they should adorn a 10-year-old girl’s bedroom (my Secret Sister is fifty-six) and took them home to begin my Secret Sister stash.
One of the items was a box of notecards with a few butterflies, a cross, and Matthew 19:26: “With God all things are possible.” I flipped the box over to begin the arduous process of removing the price tag, picking the corner with my fingernail to make sure the industrial-strength adhesive came off with the tag, instead of forming a sticky, filthy mess. I happened to glance at the bottom of the box. Tucked between a fleur-de-leis and another flourish were the words in purple, cursive letters: “Made in China.”
At first I didn’t think anything of it. After all, how much of our merchandise isn’t made in China these days? However, as I snorted and rolled my eyes, a realization swept through my cynical mind.
In between grading and trying not to have a nervous breakdown due to over-commitment, I’ve been meandering through a book called The Jesus of Suburbia. Being a Christian, living in suburbia (believe me, I never thought I’d be a suburban housewife, but here I am), and attending a suburban church, the title caught my eye, as did the retro cover of cookie-cutter homes in shades of mustard yellow and burnt orange. So did this statement on the back of the book: “The Jesus of Suburbia paints a disturbing picture of an imitation Jesus many have been taught to worship, one that little resembles the revolutionary, life-transforming Jesus of Nazareth.”
Although the title and premise of the book intrigued me, part of me wanted to put it back on the shelf. The part that likes comfortable, safe, predictable Christianity, and the God that comes with it. But the part of me that has always yearned to know what it’s like to be a true follower of Christ overruled that part.
What does it mean to be a true follower of Christ? I confess that I can’t answer that question. But I do feel that having the desire to answer that question is a vital part of my faith and its development.
As I held the box of notecards in my hand, I thought about the hands of the Chinese worker who had prepared them to be shipped to the US. If she could read English, did she ponder the words? Did she wonder who or what “God” is? As she laid in bed that night, a ray of moonlight cutting across her blanketed torso, did the words resound in her head, with a whisper of longing to understand them?
I thought about the quote on the cards. Do I really think that all things are possible with God? Do I believe that, if I give up everything for God—my comfortable suburban home, my white-collar office job, my supermarkets, my comfy sedan, or (heaven forbid) my laptop and Internet, that He will provide all of my needs, and I will be more fulfilled than ever before?
No, I don’t believe it. But I want to.