Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How does this thing work?

“But I’m here to show you what it’s really like to live. To show you the best possible, most life giving way to exist.” (John 10:10 RSV)

One of the most annoying things about moving into a new place is filling it – especially when you don’t have a lot to fill it with. As we moved into our most recent place, my roommates and I combined to have ourselves…drumroll please… a television, television stand, and DVD player. Yes, that is all. Couches? Nah. Kitchenware? No chance. Bed? Come on, let’s not be ridiculous. So as you can imagine while the last month has been spent carrying out our various soccer vocations, it has also been spent scouring craigslist and badgering friends for used (but still awesome) ‘stuff.’ And while we still aren’t finished, we are a long way from where we started.

Our most recent purchase has been a grill; but not just any grill. We are talking about the lean mean, fat reducing grilling machine, George Foreman Grill. It fits in our apartment, follows the no actual grill on the patio rule, and reduces our protein fat intake. Not bad at all. We ripped it out of the box and started grilling some chicken right away.

Because it is the beginning of the season, as a team, we are also working on getting settled. Guys are coming in day by day and different players are coming in on trial. As things have yet to be set, some guys living situations aren't exactly ready for them yet. Being one of the few groups of guys on the team not married and not with a host family, we get asked to host players from time to time. On this particular occasion, we were hosting a newly signed midfielder. Not only had he been newly signed, he had also become and brand new believer.

Like out of the box new.

Still very much fighting his old life with so many questions, we would sit and dialogue with this guy. I would love to say we perfectly and without issue answered every single question he asked.

I can’t.

I’d love even more to say he asked really easy questions. You know, the ones we are taught to answer perfectly, with scripture references and everything?

He didn’t.

This guy actually cared. He was legitimately curious. And he didn’t ask about Heaven, or ‘being in’, or saying a prayer. No, all of his questions had to do with today. He wanted to know why so much bad happens with a good God. Why Christians stand out as some of the biggest hypocrites out there. What to do when we call out to God and He doesn’t seem to answer, or maybe even care. What good is the Bible anyway? This guy’s stuff was tough!

It was apparent this guy didn’t need a faith that would get him to Heaven. This guy needed a faith that would bring heaven to him! In the midst of talking with him, I have come to a deeper understanding and realization of what I have thought for quite a while now:

I need a Jesus for today.

Yes, someday, we will inherit Heaven, and all its glories. We will get incredible crowns to lay back down at Jesus’ feet. Sin will be washed away. There will be no more tears, no more pain. It will be awesome

But there still is suffering today.

There is still sin,

There are still tears,

There is still pain.

If Jesus can’t be some source of hope for today, for now, how can I ultimately trust him with my eternity? Do I even want to?

And as I have wrestled with this I am blessed to come back to the same conclusion: the Christian life is the best life to live. I ultimately believe that forgiveness and grace far outweigh grudges. That patience and love beat out a ‘have it my way’ theory. That to serve and give to others defeats a me first attitude.

Ultimately I believe this to be the case for two reasons.

1. I see it in everyday life.

There are fewer things that catch our eyes with more clarity than beauty, redemption, grace, and mercy. The list goes on, but we love to see these stories unfold before our own eyes. This redeeming part of humanity is absolutely beautiful.

2. God’s word is littered with this reality.

Throughout the scriptures God give his people guidelines and ideas for how to live. I think too often we think of these as dos and don’ts - laws that get in the way of our living. The reality is, these have all been set up to protect us. These have all been put into place so that we might be able to live life the way it was meant to be.

And who knows better than our creator. Who would be better fit to help us understand the best way to operate other than the God who made us. The one who knit us together, knows our in and outs, the actions we take, and the words we speak.

As we continued to dialogue, I actually began to think about our newly acquired George Foreman. See, as we originally popped that thing out of the bag and threw the chicken on it, we all started asking each other, “Well how long does it stay on for?” “Do we need to flip the chicken?” ”What does this button do?”

So what did we instinctively turn to? The instructions, of course.

I mean, who would know how better to use the device than the original creator?

1 comment:

Tina Marie Bibergall said...

Hi, Ryan. I would appreciate SO much if you would get in touch with me. My son is a graduate of a Lutheran elementary school, currently an aspiring young Christian soccer player, a goalkeeper at Wheaton North, and (now this is the crazy one!) we live in the house on Childs! Found some of your things in the basement and told my boy it is a sign when I put your D3 Champ. certificate up on the bulletin board. Your gloves are in his room. You have been a bit of an "unknown legend"/inspiration here for us. Little did I know when I decided to pursue this a bit further what I would find out about you as "Ryan the Christian man" and not "Ryan the soccer player". AJ is playing in his first college showcase tourney this weekend and I was hoping to get some words of advice for him and certainly he would LOVE to have a chance to blog with you and maybe meet you next time you are home. Please give me a call at 630-334-1419 (always up very late so whenever it's convenient for you) or email me at to let me know if I can have AJ email you somewhere.

I am so excited at the prospect of having you speak with AJ and possibly offering him some mentoring on how to be a successful soccer player while still staying focused on his Christian values and academics.

Look forward to hearing from you, Ryan.


Tina Bibergall