how the words ‘I’m with you’ can change a life

http://annvoskamp.com/2017/02/how-the-words-im-with-you-can-change-a-life/

Winsome, hilarious, and filled to bursting with the joy of Jesus, Bob Goff is an inspiration to millions to go, be, and do love. When Love Does, life gets interesting. Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too. It’s grace to welcome Bob Goff to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Bob Goff

I don’t know what high school was like for you, but it was a really tough time for me.

I wasn’t getting girls; I wasn’t good at school; I wasn’t good at sports. I had this GPA you could count up on two fingers.

There was a guy that showed up in my high school. His name was Randy and he had a motorcycle, a beard, and a girlfriend. I kind of hated him, because I wanted a motorcycle, a beard, and a girlfriend.

He was with this outfit called Young Life and their idea is to reach out to high school kids and let them know about Jesus.

I kept him at bay, because that wasn’t my thing.

But he showed up at all my stuff and he really wanted to be my friend, and I really felt that was kind of neat.

Well, school wasn’t going that great. So I showed up on Randy’s doorstep on a Sunday morning because I decided, “I’m out of there, I’m not going to go to high school anymore.”

I knocked on the door and after a long couple of minutes, Randy shows up. I said, “Man, thanks for being a great friend. I really appreciate it. I need to move to Yosemite and climb rocks.”

He looked at me, kind of puzzled, and he said, “Bob, when are you going to go?”

I said, “Well, now.” And I pointed over to my Volkswagen.

He said, “Hang on a second.” He disappeared for a long couple of minutes. When he came back, he had a backpack over one arm and a sleeping bag under the other. He said, “I’m with you.”

I said, “You’re going to go with me right now?!” And he did. He just threw his stuff on top of my stuff and we jumped in the Volkswagen and we split.

We got to this beautiful place and started climbing rocks, right away. The adventure was on.

I loved that he was just with me.

Aren’t adventures a lot better when you are just doing them with someone? Somehow it makes quitting stuff not as scary when you’re with somebody, right?

There is something that happens, too, there’s something really beautiful when we quit things once in a while.

Do you ever feel like your life is just so filled with things that you can’t even move it around?

We get so much stuff in our lives we can’t even navigate anymore.

And I think Jesus, throughout Scripture, has people quitting stuff and finding stuff and quitting stuff.

So you know one thing that I do? Every single Thursday, I quit something.

There is something beautiful that happens.

It makes room in my life for Jesus to just suck beautiful things in. I can start navigating towards Him again. I don’t have all these fixed points. But you got to pick the right stuff to quit, don’t you? You don’t want to quit things that are beautiful and good for you.

What if we quit stuff? We don’t know what day of the week it was when Jesus came by the disciples and said, “Quit what you’re doing, drop your nets, and follow me.” I don’t know when in Exodus, Moses says “We’re out of here.” But I’m just so hoping it was on a Thursday.

It’s okay to quit stuff. It’s a beautiful thing. Just, quit the right stuff. That’s the trick.

Sometimes we get it wrong. And that’s the beautiful part about God with us.

Emmanuel, right? He says that even when we quit the wrong stuff, He’ll never quit us.

He’s with us, over and over again. We just need to not quit Him.

We need to quit thinking that if we make a mistake, somehow we’ve deviated from His plan.

You know what His plan is? Him! Just keep loving Him. We can just never, ever quit loving Him.

So we got to Yosemite Valley and we started applying for jobs, and I couldn’t get a job anywhere. I went to this outfitting store, and they said, “Do you have a high school diploma?” And I said, “Not really.” Ha ha. I went to a place where they made pancakes. I mean, like, who couldn’t make pancakes for a living? And I got aced out there, too. It was kind of a bummer to see a dream die.

There’s something beautiful about Randy and what he continued to say. And it was these three words: “I’m with you.”

Well, Randy didn’t give me a bunch of teachable moments. He didn’t talk to me and say what a screw up I was, or tell me next time how I should fix it.

There’s something beautiful when you’re with people.

They just know that. Randy held me closer than a brother, because he knew that I was a guy who needed to be held close.

Who is somebody in your life that you need to be with, holding them close?

Well, we decided we would leave. Randy again didn’t say much on the drive home. He didn’t wreck it. We got back to the block that he lived on and his girlfriend was over visiting, I guess, because her car was parked in the driveway. I followed Randy into the house.

I kind of felt invited in to his whole life.

When I walked inside there were a bunch of plates over here, and a microwave, and an Osterizer, and some wrapping paper. I was thinking, this isn’t Christmas and I didn’t think it was his birthday, and then the nickel dropped.

On Saturday, Randy had gotten married. On Sunday, I showed up on his door.

He didn’t see me as a distraction. He saw me as a kid who was about to jump the track and who needed somebody to be with him.

I love that of all the names that Jesus could have come up for Himself, He used the word Emmanuel. God with us.

Who could we be like Emmanuel to? Who has God dropped onto your porch? You’ve got to decide, “Are they just a distraction to me? Or are they what I’m all about?” Find somebody that needs a Randy, a you, in their life. Send them a message, and say “I’m with you.”

Who is it that has been a great Randy to you? Call them up or send them a text message right now, and say, “Thanks for being with me.”

What I realized about Randy is that he’d been with me.

He hadn’t just been with me to correct me or by having some Bible study.

But he was just actually with me.

I learned a lot about Jesus from Randy.

Because when Jesus said that He was Emmanuel, He said, “I’m with you.”

And love isn’t just something that is a bunch of rules or making all the right moves.

Love does.

 

Bob Goff is the founder of Love Does, a nonprofit organization that operates schools and pursues justice for children in conflict areas such as Uganda, Somalia, Iraq, and other countries. Bob is a lawyer and serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. 

The Love Does Bible study is a study about God’s love… and the most amazing thing about that is God’s love is different. It changes things. It’s active. It works. It risks. God’s love… does. 

This dynamic five-week study explores a different aspect of God’s active love as seen through the stories of Bob Goff. Five video sessions expand on Bob’s teaching in the bestselling book of the same name, combing teaching elements with interactive creative elements. The study guide and DVD will help small groups, Sunday school classes, or even your whole church dig into each topic through a guided Bible study and small-group time with discussion questions, hands-on exercises, and further activities for participants to engage the content on their own between sessions. The Church Campaign Kit includes the book, DVD, study guide, and the Love Does Action Guide, a small booklet containing practical ideas for how you and your group can put the principles outlined in Love Does into action during the week. Tapping into this love requires a different skill set than what it takes to memorize answers for a test. This isn’t a love we can earn, buy, or win. It’s something bigger and better. It’s something we discover more about by “doing stuff.”

[ Our humble thanks to Thomas Nelson for their partnership in today’s devotion ]


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