You Are Simple Remarkable by Robert Benson

A remarkable day!  Merriam-Webster defines remarkable as: unusual or surprising; likely to be noticed.

Is life meant to be anything less than REMARKABLE?

I definitely don’t want it to be…though much of my life, sad to say, has been spent on the UN-remarkable.  

How about you, the folks in your church, those in your community…is life remarkable or NOT?  I really hope it’s remarkable. If not, there is always an opportunity for change. When we think about Christ, His life, His impact, we are left with a stark reality…His Life Mattered…and people were left remarking on it. Matthew writes, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and He healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed Him.” Crowds chased Him because he was remarkable in how He chose to do life with the people.

It is crucial for followers of Christ to bring the Good News of the Kingdom, that God is for us, to this hurting world. That’s why we have chosen to plant churches from the culture! The news drones on and on, with story after story depicting the destruction that we, in our fallen humanity, bring upon one another. The hopelessness and despair is so palpable that it can no longer be ignored. Mother Teresa, of Calcutta, put it this way, “In the developed countries there is a poverty of intimacy of spirit, of loneliness, of lack of love. There is no greater sickness today than that one.” We, no differently than Christ before us, must simply live a life, and challenge and teach others to live a life where love and loneliness are extinguished by the remarkable LOVE of Christ.

At times, because I live a life that is very intentional and strategic, probably not much different than yours, I get buried in the tasks, the details, and the action items. There is a disconnect between me and God. So often, I miss the remarkable moments that are constantly happening around me…those moments when God in His greatness is bringing his remarkable love to bare in this lost and hurting world.

This past winter while connecting with a new friend outside of his motorcycle shop, I was blindsided by the remarkable.  It’s what I like to call a divine encounter, you’ve probably had one of these encounters and maybe didn’t even know it.  This time, I became a willing participant in this very “Remarkable” moment, standing at the cross roads where we as human, finite, beings have the privilege of peering into and experiencing the divine.

There we stood, him building a crate to ship a cycle motor he’d just sold, and me just being neighborly.  Out came the hard luck story, “For the first time since I’ve had this shop, I wasn’t able to pay the heating oil bill.”  “Normally, Rob, this would have sent me over the edge and I would have went and got high or drunk, but this time something was different.“  “I didn’t fly off the handle, I didn’t run and hide and drown my pain, somehow it came to me to stop, slow down and see if there was another more healthy solution.” Immediately I jumped in and said, sounds like “Divine Intervention to me.” FYI – my friend, unapologetically, states that he is an atheist. He went on, with the excitement of a kid who just made a new discovery.  “Rob, I looked at the numbers and figured a way to make it work for this month and I was able to purchase the heating oil today.“  “I figure, next month I will work on how to pay my home mortgage.”  “Rob, you always say God provides!“  I agreed, “Yes He does!”  Then he went on to share how he had never experienced this much peace in the middle of a life struggle, he had never responded in such a healthy, life-giving way.  He was absolutely dumbfounded! This cycle shop owner got a real life demonstration of God being “For Us.”

Just yesterday, I was again reminded that Jesus still does the remarkable…

Another dear friend and his wife joined our church plant a little over a year ago. Both have had very difficult lives. In order to cope with the suffering and brokenness, my friend turned to heroine. In his addiction, he lived destructively, hurting those he loved and those who lived in the community where he reeked havoc, southwest Baltimore. God threw him a lifeline in the rooms of NA; there, my friend found respite and rescue in the God he came to know as Jesus. His life took the preverbal U-turn. Instead of destroying his family, God restored it. Instead of reeking havoc in his community, God helped him to rebuild it through opening recovery homes, safe places where the lost, lonely and addicted can find healing and wholeness. My friend wishes his story ended there, but it didn’t. After surviving a debilitating motorcycle accident, he was forced to use doctor prescribed pain medication, his body not differentiating between legal prescribed drugs and those he used to purchase on the corners of Baltimore, lured him down a dark and lonely alley. Since then, he has been in and out of recovery homes, treatment programs, on and off methadone, on and off prescription medications sold illegally on the streets and on and off heroine.

This past Sunday, he showed up at church after a two week heroine binge, surrendered and looking for prayer, some love and a hug. You see the remarkable love that he has encountered at Matt’s House drew him back home where he knew he was welcomed without condition, where he knew he was wanted! Tuesday, my friend, entered yet another treatment program. His wife said she had never seen him so surrendered to the will of God.

The draw of God’s love, which promises healing and restoration, is still alive and well! You bring it everyday you choose to step into your calling and love on those God has called you to walk with. It’s really no different than what Matthew described when crowds sought Christ out with their brokenness and suffering, all seeking what this world can never restore or heal through a life on life, love relationship with the REMARKABLE…Jesus! He has chosen you to be that life that says “You Matter,” and to teach others to be that life that says “You Matter!” He has chosen you and your team to extinguish loneliness and to embrace the unwanted.
So, take a moment…

Get intimate with Abba…

What remarkable moments come to your mind and heart, moments where you glimpsed God at work embracing the suffering and the untouchable and the lonely?

Spend a few moments reflecting on those encounters God brought to mind, and how those moments will forever be remarkable to the heart of God.

In case you are wondering, my friend who owns the motorcycle shop still struggles with believing God is there and that He is for him. Both of my friends, who are remarkable in the eyes of God, have stories that remain unfinished, but they know they “Matter” to God and that He hasn’t given up on them. God still has something surprising, something unusual, something worth noticing to bring out of their lives.

Remember, you are remarkable to God, and what Christ does in you and through you is remarkable!