Chapter 18: Outbound Ripples
P242 The images and memories began to flood back so powerfully that he felt like they might pick him up and sweep him off his bed and out of this world. And as he remembered he began to cry, until tears were rolling down his cheeks.
Q: What kind of memories makes us cry? Do they have to be powerful?
Psalm 126:5-6 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
Mack paused, grasping for words. “He said, ‘Tell Willie that I’m especially fond of him.’”
Q: How would Mack’s words have affected Willie? What does it mean to us to be told that we are fondly loved by God?
Ephesians 3:17b-19 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
P243 As she talked, Mack thought it indeed strange that he would get in an accident right after spending a weekend with God. The seeming random chaos of life, wasn’t that how Papa put it?
Q: If life is seemingly random and chaotic, what makes it predestined and orderly?
Ephesians 1:11-12 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
When Nan finished recounting her side of the events, Mack began telling her all that had happened to him. But first, he asked her forgiveness, confessing how and why he had lied to her. This surprised Nan, and she credited his new transparency to the trauma and morphine.
But the vividness and depth of his memories touched her and slowly undermined her resolve to stay objective. There was life in what he was telling her and she quickly understood that whatever had happened had greatly impacted and changed her husband.
Q: How does Mack’s story change Nan? Is she upset at being excluded? Why did Mack need her forgiveness?
Colossians 3:13-14 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
P244 Mack “None of us meant for this to happen, Kate. It just happened, and we’ll learn to live through it. But we’ll learn together. Okay?”
Q: Why is this so important to completing the story? How does this kind of restoration work in our own relationship to God?
P245 When Nan noticed that his eyes had opened, she quietly approached so as not to wake their daughter and kissed him. “I believe you,” she whispered, and he nodded and smiled, surprised by how important that was to hear. It was probably the drugs that were making him so emotional, he thought.
Q: Why did Mack need to hear that Nan believed him? How did that restore their relationship?
1 Timothy 4:9-10 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe .
P246 They probably would never have found the exact spot if it hadn’t been for Papa. Sitting at the top of a pile of stones in front of the cave was the rock with the red marking turned outward. To realize what Papa had done made Mack almost laugh out loud.
Q: What had Papa done that made Mack laugh? Is this divine intervention? Can this happen in “real life?” How?
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Even though Mack’s alibi was flawless, there would still be serious questions.
Q: Why would these questions be necessary?
P 247 Do I think all of it is true? I want all of it to be true. Perhaps if some of it is not actually true in one sense, it is still true nonetheless – if you know what I mean. I guess you and Sarayu will have to figure that one out.
Q: Where do we find real truths in this tale? Is this because we have experienced similar situations or through the revelatory powers of the Holy Spirit?
Ephesians 3:4-5 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
Somehow he (Mack) has become a child again. Or maybe more accurately, he’s become the child he never was allowed to be; abiding in simple trust and wonder.
Q: Is this what Christ means by becoming a child again in order to enter into God’s Kingdom? How do our childhood experiences affect our faith in God?
Mark 10:15-16 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
P248 As I write this, Mack is testifying at the Ladykiller trial. He had hoped to visit with the accused, but has not yet been granted permission. But he’s determined to see him, even if it happens long after the verdict is rendered.
Q: Does this kind of faith and forgiveness happen in the world today? Where and when have you seen it happen?
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins
…you will son learn that he’s (Mack) hoping for a new revolution, one of love and kindness – a revolution that revolves around Jesus and what he did for us all and what he continues to do in anyone who has hunger for reconciliation and a place to call home.
Q: Is this revolution what we call real Christianity? How can we make this happen in our homes, churches, and communities?
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
Instead it (the revolution) will be the quiet daily powers of dying and serving and loving and laughing, of simple tenderness and unseen kindness, because if anything matters, then everything matters. And one day, when all is revealed, every one of us will bow our knee and confess in the power of Sarayu that Jesus is the Lord of all Creation, to the glory of Papa.
Q: How do we know that Christ is the Lord of all Creation? Where do we expect to be and what shall we hope to be doing when this moment occurs? How can we help others to experience the same?
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I hope you have enjoyed this study. I’d love to hear how you have been using it or how you plan to use it. Please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you all.