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The Crazy Person on the Bus

May 12, 2013

Have you ever been the one who ends up sitting next to the crazy person on the bus or train. I seem to be a magnet. No matter where I sit I seem to  attract the crazy person who wanders up the aisle muttering to some invisible friend, and usually preceded by a wall of BO. They wander closer, past lots of perfectly good seats. I consider covering the seat next to me with my bag, even of lying that someone is sitting there. But I don’t. Then the BO hits, my eyes water and the person sits down.

Then the surreal conversation begins …. The one that is so important for the person but almost unintelligible to me. I want to cringe when this happens but I do my best to listen and care. I pray for the patience and love that I need. I know that I shouldn’t be so judgemental. That could be me. I could have a stroke or a break down and end up haunting public transport muttering terrorising ‘normal’ people. 

If this has ever happened to you then you will understand how Paul felt in Acts 16. This poor woman had been following Paul for days not an hour or so, until he finally snapped. He had more patience than me but it’s good to hear that even the great saints had their limitations. I need far more love, but so do we all.

So Paul snapped and the trouble began. Paul and Silas are beaten up and thrown into prison. But the next encouraging thing is that God still worked through Paul and Silas even after Paul had lost his temper. They sang in prison, they stayed faithful to where God had put them even though they could have escaped. Then God worked through them regardless and the jailer was not only saved from dying he came to know Jesus.

In Acts 16 we see Paul and Silas as ordinary people with weaknesses. But ordinary people used by the Spirit. Yesterday, I met a woman whose faith has lead her to work with disabled children in Iraq. She has been there for many years and the Spirit continues to bless her work. She was very normal and unassuming but there was about her something of the light of the risen Lord. Again an ordinary person has become extra ordinary through allowing God’s Spirit to transform her.

So what of us? We are ordinary people, just like them. What is God doing in you? What is God doing where you live? I don’t know the answer to these questions , not for sure but I do know that it is good. I know that our task is not to dream up ideas for ourselves but to be open to what God has planned for here. I also know that I will hear God’s plan by letting him make me ever more like him. Through prayer, through our Bible study, through caring action. Through these things, we ordinary people, work with Jesus to make the prayer from John 16. 20-21 come true, ‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

As we become more Godly, the more people will see God in their midst. The more that we show that the creation is precious, the more our neighbours will know that they have a Creator God, who is their Father. The more we more we bring love, the more they will see Jesus moving among them. The more people can see lives changed, the more they will see the Holy Spirit who makes us one with God. The more people see God in you, and me, then the more likely they are to believe. But they have to see the difference in you; They have to see the difference in me or how else can they know that it God is real?

People are rightly wary of frauds. As secretary of my previous martial arts club, I was often asked whether my fighting style was right for them, was it the best, and every time I would say come and see; come and try it. There is no room for pretence, either you stop a punch or you don’t; you take someone down or you don’t; It is clear whether a martial art works or not!

It needs to be the same with me. Christianity claims so much, and I know it to be true. But it is only by showing it to be true that I can prove it to anyone else. So I worship, pray, go to a house group, read my Bible, and pray some more; act and love and care; … and God will do the rest.

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