Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my reflexive actions. Too often I respond to situations or conversations with assumptions that have been true in the past, but in changing times, may not be as true now. These assumptions are so ingrained that I may not even know I’ve made one until the response coming back to me doesn’t match what I expected. These assumptions can be about everything: what a person wants from me in a conversation, what kind of help is needed in crunch time, how things “ought” to proceed, the outcome we’re looking for, how I am viewed, how God sees me…the list is endless really.

Probably one of my most present assumptions can be seen in the disciple Peter who reacted to Gethsemane’s danger by pulling his sword and slicing off an ear. He was so sure the way forward was to fight. It made sense to him. “Someone I love is in danger, what’s about to happen is wrong…pull out the sword and start fighting.” But Peter’s assumption was wrong. He wasn’t wrong about the danger. He was wrong about the way forward.

Isn’t that the way of it so much of the time? We’re not wrong about the current difficulty and its ramifications nearly as much as we’re wrong about the way forward.

Like Peter, I get confused when Jesus tells me to put my sword away. I get a bit horrified when I see him offer His unbound wrists to the guard and then get jerked around. I feel a kind of stunned resistance to the path unfolding before me.

As soldiers lead Jesus away, He looks over His shoulder at me with great tenderness. He doesn’t call out, “Go get help!” He doesn’t mouth, “It’s all going to be ok”. Instead, His eyes seem to say, “Are you coming? This is the way I’m going.”

Left watching Jesus be pulled away, I have a choice. Turn away or follow? If I follow, where are the instructions? What am I supposed to do? Jesus said don’t fight. That’s what I know how to do. If I am not to do that, then what? My assumptions are turned upside down.

When change comes, it doesn’t just reveal the assumptions we make but unveils our fear-driven questions as well. It’s in the middle of that fear, that perplexity, that lack of confidence in our ability to figure out what to do that Jesus says, “Are you coming?” We think (another assumption) that we’ll not be good followers if we can’t figure out what to do. He says, “I’m not who you think I am.”

And so, like the disciples, we follow Jesus. At a distance, up close, sloppily, full of blunders and assumptions of all kinds. But as we go, we begin to learn that following means waiting…watching… listening… then…moving. Going forward in this way, assumptions are dismantled and Jesus frees us from our fears. It just doesn’t look the way we thought it would.

ACTION:  In the change you are facing today, what are some of the assumptions you hold?  What might need you to wait, watch and listen…before you move?


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