How My Heathen Friend Became Christ (Part One)

I just wrapped up Hell On Wheels on Netflix. If you’re familiar with the show you’ll understand why “heathen” is tippety-tapping off my fingertips. You should also know that Heavenly Father has chosen me to be his prophet, so listen up, you sumbishes!

I have this friend. We’ll call him Bob. We’ve been friends since we were wee lads. Golly, I remember when we were horny little bastards on the cusp of puberty and our eyeballs couldn’t detach from THEMS! For those who don’t understand teenage boys, “THEMS” was our code word for boobs. There were a couple of Jr. High gals in particular who induced zombie-testosterone-syndrome (medically known as ZTS). We wandered the halls between classes wide-eyed while mumbling “theeemmsss.”

Bob’s one of those friends you can lose touch with for years and pick up right where you left off. He’s a brother to me. My heathen brother! A couple of years ago we reconnected after a long hiatus. I was at Bob’s wedding years earlier, but we hadn’t kept in touch much since. It was a bummer to hear that he was now divorced. He and his bride were trying to have kids, but the infertility demons had something else in mind. Their struggle became marriage hell, so they split.

Bob is a bit of a lady’s man, so it wasn’t long before he met a gal and got busy doing the tango-whiskey-sheet romp. Do I even need to tell you what happened next? One surefire way to get a bun in the oven is to have sex outside the confines of committed marriage. So, if you’re having infertility issues, you know what you need to do. “Hey honey, where’s my concubine?!”

Now Bob, being the good man that he is, decided to make a go of it with this gal he barely knew. He wanted his son to experience the love of both parents. But it wasn’t long before Bob learned something significant about his baby mama.

She’s batshit-crazy.

I know, it isn’t nice to label people, especially someone who likely needs help with her mental health issues. But batshit-crazy is actually a short, sweet way to describe her actions. Please don’t judge me while I’m judging her.

So, Ms. BatShit-Crazy decides she no longer wants anything to do with Bob. She packs her things, and takes their son with her across the country to live with her family.

Pause.

Do you ever wonder who the hell is writing the script for your life? We all have choices to make, but choices don’t equal control. It drives us protagonists crazy when we realize we’re not the ones holding the pen.

Unpause. 

Bob likely thought that marriage was the battle of his life. Uh… no. The battle was just beginning. Batshit-chick was prepared to fight to the grave to keep Bob from her son. Unfortunately for Bob, this meant lies, character assassination, lawyers, maxed-out credit cards, bankruptcy…rinse and repeat. I could get gruesome with the details, but you get the point. Bob was drowning in the fiery lake of hell, while satan looked on and laughed.

And satan is still laughing after weeks…months…years. But nothing, and I mean nothing has kept Bob from  pursuing his child at any cost. The amount of pain is unbelievable. Yet, his pursuit is incredibly beautiful. Who knew suffering could be so attractive?

Ok, so Bob is suffering for his son. What’s this got to do with anything?

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve wanted to shove my Christian faith off a cliff. It often seems absurd. Irrational. A load of crap.

But then, the Bob’s of the world come into view. The far-fetched gets real. Truth turns vivid. Clear. Love moves from abstract to tangible. Touchable.

Jesus is the full manifestation of the Father. God becomes touchable and enters a world where self-obsession devours and destroys. He wants his children to know him and be known by him. He longs for intimacy with his cherished creation. But hell is the cost.

It’s the cruelest of ironies.

The One who is the very embodiment of love, becomes the receiver of the worst kind of hate. He’s beaten. Whipped. Bloodied. His ankles and wrists nailed to a cross by the very ones he’s pursuing. But it won’t stop him. Nothing will stop him from going after his one true love…. Us.

Bob, a christ here and now.

I’m not sure that Bob realizes what an amazing picture of Christ he’s become. He’s a father willing to carry a great burden of cruelty so that he may know, enjoy and be WITH his son. To be with someone, to be fully in their presence, taking in all the glory and mystery of who they are – that’s what this entire universe, this entire life is about. That’s who God is. That’s why He created us. That’s why He’s relentless in His pursuit of us.

So, this is how my heathen friend Bob became Christ. Thanks Bob, for reminding me that it’s absurdly beautiful and absolutely worth it to continue on this faith journey – believing in the One who gave his life for me so that I might experience the joy of knowing Him.

There’s a second part to this story. The script is not yet written. But for Bob, it may be the most important, and most difficult thing he’ll ever do. Stay tuned for part two…

Now, give thanks to Jesus for never giving up in His pursuit of you, you sumbishes!