Aug 10, 2011

John Wesley's Got the Blues

Here's a quote from John Wesley's journal written on a Tuesday during the 24th of January in the smoking cool year of 1738:  

" I went to America, to convert the Indians; but oh! who shall convert me? who, what is he that will deliver me from this evil heart of mischief? I have a fair summer religion. I can talk well; nay, and believe myself, while no danger is near; but let death look me in the face, and my spirit is troubled."

With an inkling of the seed that fell among the rocks, he realizes how his faith falters whenever the threat of death permeates his general vacinity.  Certain death, with all its smoldering determination, awaits us all. I hope to be able to face it like a true man of God when the time comes. But I'm sure I'll freak out.  Some of us might welcome a hero's death that could be brilliantly portrayed someday by the famous hollywood elite. However, I'm sure I'll just choke on a chicken bone. Some deaths that literally freak the crud right out of me are: shark attack, waking up in the middle of a brain surgery, or getting stuck watching the Kardashian's marathon. Oooh, shudder!  

It's funny how Jesus calls on us to die to ourselves, Paul call on us to live for Christ, and Satan wants to devour us all. Our eternal condition and placement is constantly surrounded by the promise of death. Paul tells us that Christ has removed the sting of death (sin) for us.  I'm sure it's still going to be miserable. I like Woody Allen's quote:  "I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens." I'm with him.  Unless, of course, my death causes millions of people to wish they were in my place.  That would be quite a death. No idea what that would look like. Perhaps, Braveheart? Nope. Captain Jack Sparrow? Nope. Harry Potter? Nope. Obi Wan Kenobi? Hmmm. That one might just work for me. 

As for Wesley, I appreciate his honest admittance of fear.  It's easy for believers to praise God when surrounded by a crowd of people in agreement.  To have a heart that praises Him through the difficult times, in the face of trials, threats, and the possibility of death before we win the lottery, go to Hawaii, get married, watch our grandchildren grow up, pay off our school loans, ... well, maybe not the school loans ... is something worth striving and praying for. Such an attitude, I'm sure, can only stem from a life that seeks to know and be known by God.  

Wesley died at the good ol' ripe age of 87 in the year 1791. In 2009, an independent film company made a movie about him that wasn't half bad. (So I've been told). Who knows? Maybe one day they'll make a movie about your life and death.  If that's the case, I hope you don't die from choking on a chicken bone. That would be just silly. 

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