Reflections on my last year or so in Sydney

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps

At the end of 2012 I was making plans to go on missions full-time to ‘the unreached’. God had other plans, and I found myself smack-bang in the middle of the craziness and busyness of Sydney, delivering and running a health service instead of preaching the gospel in a deep, dark jungle somewhere in Africa or PNG.

The last year and a half has been a year of extremes of sickness and health, of quietness and busyness. And as I reflect on the last year and a half or so I’ve spent in Sydney, I realise I’ve been forced to re-do my theology, and re-think the way it plays out in my life. There has been radical shifts of perspectives and world-views.

I’ve discovered and I am discovering a Jesus that is as practical and earthy as he is spiritual. There is no split in his mind, in terms of value, regarding his activities of eating, helping, praying, and teaching. And I feel that, when he looks at my life, there is no sense in which he tiers my ‘spiritual’ activities of praying and bible-reading above the other more ‘earthy’ activities of eating, road cycling, and dentistrying. He values it all, and indeed – he is probably most happy when he finds me doing the things I was created to do and love to do.

If there was one word I could use to describe the place I’ve been brought to, I would use the word ‘Freedom’. It’s freedom because somehow Jesus has led me to a place where everything matters. And that satisfies something deep inside of me. Human beings are meaning machines. And yet we are always at risk of placing too much meaning in things i.e. idolizing what is ultimately meaningless. I saw countless children and adults crying when Brazil was crushed in this morning’s World Cup semi-final. We witnessed a defeat of a football team, but also the idol of a nation being smashed to pieces on the floor.

And somehow placing all your meaning in Jesus Christ doesn’t lead you to a high and mighty, overly spiritual place where everything else is relegated to meaninglessness, but placing all your hope and meaning in Jesus enables everything finds it’s rightful position. There is the freedom to enjoy and pursue and do and love without the trap of being consumed by those things.

And a beautiful man and his desires and affections and purposes is finding his way into our lives and into this world. He is a man that refuses to be boxed and contained by anything, not the wrong constructs in our minds, nor the extravagance and selfishness of the west, nor any power or principality in any realm. He is coming on the clouds, He is shining like the sun. He is coming for his bride. And he is bringing freedom, desire, authenticity and ridiculous amounts of productivity.