The flight from Denver to OKC did not provide enough room to work on the laptop. I read instead. An editor suggested Donald Miller’s, Blue Like Jazz. I’ll have a link to the book through Amazon later today.
I made it through about 50 pages before a conversation broke out with the gentleman in the seat next to me. He chronicled his story. An auto accident a year and a half ago in OKC left him in need of surgery. Seems he was hit from behind and propelled into an intersection where he was hit again. He only remembers the first. His back is in need of repair. He was flying back for an arbitration hearing. The insurance company wants to pay after the surgery – he is required to have some up front. The surgery will cost $250,000. He has already doled out $90,000 in prescriptions for pain. Now unable to work the heavy equipment he will need to rehab and learn a new trade. He will likely be on some form of disability for the rest of his life. His first marriage ened with increased bickering and discontent. He sees his two children a couple of times a month. He moved in with a lady who left him after the accident – seems she wanted a more active life and so she moved on to more mobile men. He orderd a Harley as incentive to rehab. He knows it will take some time – he wanted something for which to look forward.
My take is he needs something more than a Harley to get him through. He needs a relationship with Jesus. Pray for Larry. He began his hearing this morning at 9:00 a.m.
As you can imagine this set me to thinking. In my younger days, I hear a story like this and think, “What a loser.” “If he would just get his act together and follow Jesus, he would avoid such disasters.” Now, I wonder how it is we ever survived with any kind of “smell” of Christ with such an attitude. I thought of the woman at the well in John 4. I thought how Jesus handled her. He knew her story and rather than suggest, “What a loser”, he engaged her and she was never the same.
Donald Miller describes growing up in church with a view of God something like s slot machine. When you need something you plug a prayer into the machine and hope for the best. There was little discussion of what it meant to live life following Jesus. Not much help in dealing with the crises and tragedies wihout some verbal piety to get you by. He soon realized he was broken and needed fixing. I suspect by the time I finish the book there will be a great deal to explain his Author’s note,
“I NEVER LIKED JAZZ MUSIC BECAUSE JAZZ MUSIC doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.
After that I liked jazz music.
Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.
I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.” (p.ix)