The following is a guest post from my new friend and fellow CLC author Ed Cyzweski. He’s got a great new book out called ‘Hazardous’ which I will be reviewing later this week. If you want to pick it up, and you really should, CLC is running a special on ‘Hazardous’ through the end of the month. So go here and get a copy for only $9.99! Also, check out Ed’s blog to find out how you can participate in his synchroblog this week called ‘My Hazardous Faith Story.’
I Asked Jesus for a Lake House, but He Sent Me to Prison Instead
Though I’ve never actually said anything like this to Jesus, there are days when I may as well put it like this:
Hi Jesus, I’ve been a believer in you since the age of 12, and I’d like you to finally pay up for all the stuff I’ve had to do for you. If you could give me a lake house in the Northeast at your earliest convenience, I’d be most grateful. I may even use it to honor and glorify you!
If you’re not quite sure I deserve a lake house…
Remember how I read the Bible every day? I also embossed my name on the cover, highlighted important verses, and, this is the really impressive part, journaled a little every day. I used fancy pens to fill fancy journals with spiritual insights.
Remember how I set up the church every Saturday? I also cleaned the bathrooms—those nasty horrible bathrooms after the Friday night youth groups smeared heaven knows what all over them.
Remember how I attended seminary? I also worked at a church where we had a food pantry that served the vulnerable and hungry in our neighborhood.
I could go on Jesus, but you already know all of these things, right?
And still, there’s no lake house. In fact, you gave me something quite different from a lake house.
You placed me in a town that had a prison right outside of it.
You made sure I drove by that prison all of the time.
I was happy to work on the church newsletter.
I didn’t mind greeting visitors.
But you wanted me to see that prison.
I would have been happy to serve in the church. I was ready to sign the contract for that lake house. Instead you gave me a volunteer application for the prison.
Without a lake house, much less a front porch, you sent me off to the prison with an Alpha book and my Bible.
I prayed with former drug addicts who feared what would happen when they returned to the streets.
I tried to straighten out some twisted theology that turned you into a slot machine, all the while missing the irony of my desire for a lake house.
I encouraged inmates who became part of a patchwork family of believers, many of whom were working hard to overcome a past of abuse, poor choices, and addictions.
In the end Jesus, you tricked me. You brought me so much joy while praying with prison inmates, that I forgot about that lake house.
I couldn’t pout about what I didn’t have while I praised you for working through me, for showing me the peace and joy someone can have in the worst of situations.
Some days I still think about that lake house. I’d still like to have one someday.
But now I’d like to add something to that request. I’d also like for there to be a prison nearby.
If your past actions are any indication of the future, I have a feeling you’re going to deliver on the prison and not so much on the lake house. The crazy part is that you’ve taught me to be OK with that.
Ed Cyzewski (MDiv Biblical Theological Seminary) is a freelance writer in Columbus, OH. He is the co-author of Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus and author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life, Divided We Unite, and A Path to Publishing. Ed blogs on freelance writing at: www.edcyz.com and on imperfectly following Jesus at www.inamirrordimly.com.