Reflections: The great exchange: Part two

While I concur that I may not see the full effect of my life with my natural eyes before I leave this Earth, there is a lot that I do see, here and in my world, and I see it because God’s kingdom rule is in full effect here, just as it is in Heaven. 

Extraordinary exchanges are taking place in my world, as deliverance in its many forms is manifested. Here is what I see.

From “I Cannot” to “I Can”

I love the irony in the story found in the first chapter of John’s Gospel. John, who had been busy baptizing people in the Jordan River near Bethany, had just identified Jesus as the Messiah who was to come. 

This announcement caused several of John’s disciples to break ranks with John and become disciples of Jesus. 

It was on this occasion that Jesus, having spent some time there and having decided to leave this region and go to Galilee, stopped to ask a man named Philip to become his follower. Here we pick up the narrative.

“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’

“Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’

“’Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.

“’Come and see,’ said Philip.” (John 1:43-46)

Nazareth was a very tiny farming village. Located high on a hill and far from the main trade routes, it was the last place anyone would look for the Messiah. It had been established by a clan from the line of David that had returned from exile in Babylon around 100 BC. They were peasants who lived meagerly. Their setting was simple and their objective was simple: to live in peace, secluded from the tyranny of Roman rule.

What is noteworthy here is this: Jesus’ identity was not rooted in the kind of family or society that he was born into, nor was he a victim of the cultural misfortunes that may have been associated with that family. 

And, while his society tended to rate his worth by its own inhibitions and limitations, Jesus had another destiny. 

Their identity was wrapped in the phrase “I cannot;” his identity was wrapped in the phrase “I can.”

Jesus’ society did not define him; his character and calling did.

Very similar to how it was with Jesus, family misfortunes and fates do not restrict me, nor do cultural norms and curses constrain me, for I have permission to pursue untamed dreams. “I cannot” was never in Jesus’ vocabulary, and it is no longer to be in mine. God, “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” (Eph. 3:20a) is in the house!

He is my “I can!”

From Empty and Limiting Imaginations to Liberation 

I once fostered thought patterns that limited my imagination and, as a result, restrained my actions. Here are a few of them.

Status and placement: “I was not born into the right family. I did not grow up in the right neighborhood. I am not getting the breaks that others are getting.”

Income and resources: “I do not have enough money. I am not gifted enough. My support systems are inadequate.”

Perspective and vision: “The enterprise under consideration is not worth my time and effort. I have to take care of so many details. The situation looks grim.”

Fear and negativity: “I will not be able to overcome the obstacles in my path. I cannot risk the comfort of my familiar for the fuzzy unknown. The failures of my past will be the context for the flops of my future.”

Pride and position: “I understand my creed and it is sufficient. I have achieved a level of success and I want to settle.

Laurie Langdon