one human family

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.”  (John 13:13)

What if Jesus showed up on your front porch today? A knock. The door might swing open, and you might hesitate for a moment—who is this long-haired man dressed so “biblically”? Calling yourself Jesus does not make you the Son of God. But what if you knew it was Jesus, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

“Come with me,” he says. “Today I want to be your Teacher and Lord.”

We might glance back at our piles of things to do, torn, anxious. “But, Lord, I have already planned…”

“It will all be fine. Let it go, for now. Grab your hat. Right now, we’re going on a short trip. A field trip.”

Would you go? Would I go? Just walk out the door? Without telling someone, or straightening up details, or grabbing your wallet? Without asking where? Or why? Just be a student following your Teacher?

Could you trust Jesus that much?

I hope I could. Jesus is indeed my “teacher” when I let him run my life. The more I trust, and the less I try to control, the more I learn. When I listen to him, he points things out. He teaches me new lessons.

Big breath. I close the door and stride down the sidewalk behind him.

What would Jesus teach me this day? Maybe today, he leads me to the market. Inside he says, “Look at all the different brands and options you have for everything. Thirteen types of beans. Twenty-eight types of juices. Thirty different donuts to choose from. Let’s skip the soda and chips aisle. Oh my.”

vegetable stand photo

His eyes smile, but there is a lesson here. He asks me, “What is this abundance training in you? How is this shaping you? Perhaps to be demanding? Perhaps to be very picky? Perhaps to think you deserve it all? Or to not think about the overwhelming abundance you have at all? If you have eyes, then let them see.”

Being with Jesus is always about noticing things. He sees the world deeply. I try to see as Jesus does, really I do. His teachings lead to goodness, pushing me, sanctifying me. He is an amazing Teacher.

His eyes become focused on me: “Did you see the young, frazzled mother? Oh, you missed her? Red dress, clean hands, with short blond hair? She had more small children than she had items for checkout. Only dried soup, a box of children’s bandaids, and macaroni and cheese. She counted her pennies carefully. Yet there was a joy on her face, and sense that the day would hold something special ahead. She was hopeful.”

He pauses. “She is right. I have planned for her husband to get a good job today, and together they will return later for small toys for the kids, and some hamburgers. It will be a celebration tonight in the apartment. It is a big day for her family.” My eyes fill with joy. Teacher, you are so good.

This is not the first time we have been together, the Lord and me. In my experience I have found Jesus to be good as my Teacher, and his days well-planned. When I walk away from my task list, trusting him, everything still gets done, and people are fine. He has a whole army’s worth of angels to cover my simple tasks. He seems to be able to hold all of my life together without strain.

We journey through the city. I am struck by how clean it is, but also by how much graffitti has been added to the walls recently. How many shops are closed. I think of owners and patrons, divided. We walk down the sidewalk. Cars fly by just feet way, unaware of us.

So many eyes, so few really seeing.

As we pass a bus stop, Jesus shows me something. “Look there,” he says quietly. I see a whole family, parents and children and an aunt, perhaps, sitting together on the benches. Each has a worn, overstuffed suitcase near them, and they are obviously waiting for a bus. One boy, with his hair parted neatly, smiles at me as he clutches his Disney lunch box.photo-1578418251390-75d0ac20ed21

“They are heading home to Mexico. Five bus rides are ahead of them, and two nights sleeping in the seats. A dear grandfather is ill, and they want to go see him. They are afraid he will die before they get there. If you have eyes, then see.”

Tears again come. How easily I could have missed this human-artwork, this fabric of family. How could I fail to see them? They love their grandfather so much that they will suffer to spend a few days with him. The mother quietly prays in Spanish, but I hear her clearly: “Jesus, gracious por todo. Velar por mi padre y mi familia.” Jesus, thank you for all things. Watch over my father and my family.

Jesus speaks quietly to me: “I hear her prayers, for she is my daughter. Her father will be fine. But you have something she needs. You give her something.”  I left this day without wallet or money—what can I give? But then, somehow, I know.

A big smile forms on my face. “Senora. Excuse me. You have such a beautiful family! I will pray that Jesus gives you a safe and joyous trip. In God’s hands, it will be fine. Trust the Teacher.”

I don’t know how much English she understands, but her face lights up. Wrinkles fade, and a peace comes to her shoulders. Her husband smiles, too, and repeats my words in Spanish to the family. Oddly, they all laugh. And then he turns to me. “We had asked God for a sign that we should go. You are it, my brother.”

He reaches his tanned worker’s hand out, and I take it with the white-soft hand of an academic. A few seconds connect us forever. Then the bus arrives, and they quickly pile on. A young black couple, both covered in tatooes, is boarding, too. They smile and help the kids carry their suitcases up the steps.

We are united, one big family, on a journey together.

“Dios está contigo, mi hermano,” the mother says to me as she boards. God is with you, my brother. In dust and traffic, the bus pulls away.

Yes, he is. I turn to Jesus, but he is gone. Off to another student, another classroom. “Thanks, my Teacher and my Lord. Thanks for walking with me today. Tomorrow, too, Lord?”

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.  (Ps. 25:4-5)

 

If you like the message here, you might really enjoy reading these stories: deeply connected: the pot with chains; chrismas comes in a 1981 chrysler minivan; and a miracle at the aurora theater shooting.

3 comments

  1. Wow…I was glued to this story. Beautiful. Thanks Brad. I pray I can continue to let Jesus be my teacher and see what is around me.

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