Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” ~Luke 22:31-32
He took a deep sigh, releasing the pressure, as he looked at his kids and said, “We are moving.”
“Where?” asked the youngest.
“Rad” the kid replied and went back to playing with his Legos (it was the 80s).
A few minutes later, he called me into the dining room to point out my new bedroom in the blueprints of the home that he had been building in the lot next to us.
While I do not remember the details, when I was six years old, my family moved, literally, next door. I have been told, I packed up my stuffed animals, baseball cards, and StarWars figures into a red wagon and pushed that along the street as the rest of our gear got hauled into a moving truck…to go next door.
In Daniel Levinson’s The Season’s of a Man’s Life, he has found that a man goes through a period of stability in his life for about 6-7 years before a crisis event shakes things up and forces him to reassess what he values, where he is heading, and what he is building.
Interestingly, where I lived has followed that existential trajectory, as each moved grew further and further away from my home.
- When I was 6, I moved next door.
- When I was 12, I moved 5.6 miles into another neighborhood.
- At 18, I left for Davidson, NC, spending my summers in Charlotte.
- At 24, I moved to the boundaries of civilization: New Jersey.
- At 30, we moved into our home in Charlotte.
While these relocations caused minor adjustments, larger events have also hit on this 7 year pattern that forced trajectory changes in my life.
- Age 20: quit football/began YoungLife ministry, met Lindsay, got involved with Warehouse242
- Age 27: graduated seminary, failed ordination, birth of daughter, skin cancer diagnosis, 6 weeks in my parents’ basement, first ministry position, first home purchase.
- Age 34: left stable career for Waypoint Community Church, joined the pax of F3
Each of us is trying to build a DREAM that embodies our love, our job, our values, our friendships/mentorships, and these crises become opportunities to test it’s structural integrity. Whether we initiate crisis (quitting a job, walking out on a love) or they are thrust upon us (diagnosis, being let go, sick child), they are coming. Crisis is coming.
While crises often feel like traumatic experiences, the root word is actually much more compelling. Crisis is a derivative of a greek word “krisis” that means decision. That is what a crisis is in a man’s life. It is a decision point.
While we may prefer the calm waters of the periods of stability, these periods of crisis allow us to evaluate life, to fess up, and to press on. We can hold up the blueprint of the illusive DREAM we are building and compare it to the reality of life.
This provides us a chance to see where we went off plan, where we need some reinforcement, and where we need to tear down the shoddy workmanship to invest more time.
Notice that Jesus does not deny Satan’s request, but prays for Simon. For the specific reason: that he may “strengthen his brothers.” Jesus knows that Simon is going to hit some challenges (in a few short hours in fact). He knows that Simon will face many crises, that will all become decision points as to whether he will turn back to Christ or go it alone.
So what DREAM are you building? Have you tested the foundations? How might you turn back to Christ in order to strengthen your brothers when (not if) the crises come?
*PS-If there are any real estate agents reading this…no, I have no plans to move next year. And I like my current RE agent…she got us on House Hunters (which is a story for another day).