I remember a long night sitting in uncomfortable Naugahyde chairs in O’Hare Airport, waiting impatiently for a flight that was delayed for five hours. I happened to be next to a wise woman who was traveling to the same conference. The long delay and the late hour combined to create a melancholy mood, and in five hours we had time to share all the dysfunctions of childhood, our disappointments with the church, our questions of faith. I was writing the book Disappointment with God at the time, and I felt burdened by other people’s pains and sorrows, doubts and unanswered prayers.
My companion listened to me in silence for a very long time, and then out of nowhere she asked a question that has always stayed with me. “Philip, do you ever just let God love you?” she said, “It’s pretty important, I think.”
I realized with a start that she had brought to light a gaping hole in my life. For all my absorption in the Christian faith, I had missed the most important message of all. The story of Jesus is the story of a celebration, a story of love.
(Philip Yancey: The Jesus I never Knew)
I came across the following statement – from Dr Edward John Carnell – this morning in a blog post from Ray Ortlund, on The Gospel Coalition website. He was reflecting personally on the sad passing of Dr Carnell, a former president of Fuller Seminary.
“Whoever meditates on the mystery of his own life will quickly realize why only God, the searcher of the secrets of the heart, can pass final judgment. We cannot judge what we have no access to. The self is a swirling conflict of fears, impulses, sentiments, interests, allergies, and foibles. It is a metaphysical given for which there is no easy rational explanation. Now if we cannot unveil the mystery of our own motives and affections, how much less can we unveil the mystery in others? That is, as we look into ourselves, we encounter the mystery of our own, the depths of our own selfhood. As we sing things like ‘Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings within and fears without, O Lamb of God, I come.’ And having recognized the mysteries that dwell in the very depths of our own being, how can we treat other people as if they were empty or superficial beings, without the same kind of mystery?”
On another blog (yourleadershipjourney.net) I am running a series of posts on leadership learnings. I’ve posted the story so far on this site this evening. You can sign up on the leadership journey blog to stay up to date with each week’s contribution.
Here is this week’s contribution: Leadership Learnings: Alan Wilson
Leadership reveals the strengths and weaknesses of your character – but people will take more notice of the weaknesses! You have to learn to use your strengths and develop your areas of weakness. I learned this by seeing my own character flaws exposed to others and to myself. Thankfully God is merciful and so are most of my colleagues!
Source: Leadership learnings: Eddie Arthur
The most important thing I have learned (via Jack Miller) is to repent. I severely underestimated the ability of my pride and sin at the start of ministry. I also severely underestimated the patience of Jesus in ministry.
Source: Leadership Learnings: Martin McNeely
So I think my most significant lesson has been that if you have to not give glory to God for anything – and I don’t think that should happen – it should always go to a team.
Source: Leadership Learnings: Philip Emerson