010 LUMP – Rob Bell – NOOMA
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010 LUMP – Rob Bell – NOOMA

August 24, 2019


On my kitchen table, we have
this metal tin bowl receptacle thing where we keep all those things
that don’t seem to go anywhere else. Do you have one of these places
in your house? It’s maybe a shelf or a drawer. It’s that place where you put all
those possessions that have no home. And so, at any one time,
it’s got a shoelace, and it’s got a key
to you have no idea what and maybe some rubber cement
and a stick of dynamite or something. I don’t know. A few days ago, my wife, Kristin,
and I were cleaning up the kitchen. We’re picking things up,
and I notice this little white ball in the metal bowl. And I’m struck with the fact
that I’ve never seen it before. And so I turn to Kristin, and I say: “Where did this ball come from?
Where did you get it?” She says, “I have no idea.
I’ve never seen it before.” And our boys are over here, so I said: “Where did this white ball come from?
I haven’t seen it before.” And the one son,
my younger son, he says: “Well, I don’t know.
I’ve never seen it.” And my older son says,
“It’s just the strangest thing. I don’t know where it came from.
Do you know where it came from?” And then he keeps going
in this same voice. He’s like, “It’s the strangest thing.
I mean, it appeared out of nowhere. Who knows where it came from?” Kristin and I look at each other, and
we have this look between us, like: “Do you know who this boy is?” I mean, for a few brief moments,
he’s some other kid, and he just keeps going
with these bizarre gestures. It’s like he’s been possessed
by the spirit of Urkel or something. And for a few brief moments,
he’s this other boy. You know, “I don’t know.
I don’t know where it came from.” But I mean,
it’s just a little white ball. Kristin and I look at each other like,
“It’s just not that big of a deal.” So a couple days later,
my wife is home with the boys, and she’s in one room,
and they’re playing in another room, and she hears this ruckus. And the two of them run
into the room where she’s at, and the younger son is crying, and
he’s insisting his brother hit him. And my older son is going,
“I didn’t hit him. I don’t know what you’re talking
about. It’s the strangest thing.” And he’s going on and on, and the younger one with tears
streaming down his face is going: “No, he hit me.” And my older son is going, “I don’t
know what you’re talking about. It’s the strangest thing.
It’s the weirdest thing.” And then Kristin just says to him: “Kind of like you don’t know
where the white ball came from?” And he just freezes. The technical legal word here
is “busted.” You know that moment
when your junk catches up to you? It’s maybe not that day,
maybe not the next day, maybe not for a while, but given enough time,
it always finds us. There’s this great phrase,
“Wherever you go, there you are.” It’s written in the Bible
in the Book of Galatians. “Don’t be misled. No one makes a fool out of God. Whatever we plant
we’ll end up harvesting.” One way or another, given
enough time, our sins find us out. It always catches up with us,
doesn’t it? So my boy stands there
in front of his mom, frozen. And then he turns and runs upstairs. Because sometimes
it’s easier to run upstairs, isn’t it, than to face the truth? Now, this whole time,
I haven’t even been there. I’m coming home, and I call Kristin,
and she tells me this whole story. So I’m driving, thinking, “What am
I supposed to do when I get home?” I mean, I know I should do something,
but I have no idea what to do. And so I get home,
and Kristin tells me that she hasn’t heard a sound
from him upstairs the whole time. So I go upstairs. And I go check in his room,
and he’s not there. So I go, and I check in his
brother’s room, and he’s not there. And then I check the bathroom,
and he’s not there, which leaves only one option,
our bedroom. And so I go, and I stand in the
doorway of our bedroom, and I look in. And there, in the middle of our bed,
under the covers, is a lump the size and shape of my boy. And I mean, at this point, he’s been
under there, like, two hours. I mean, it must be so hot.
He must be so miserable. Can he even breathe under there? I feel like
I should get him a snorkel. I mean, he just must be miserable. And I start thinking about all the
amends he’s gonna need to make, to his mom and to his brother
and to me. And then I think about
whoever he took the white ball from. We’re gonna have to call them
and at some point go over there. He’s gonna need to take
the white ball back, and he’s gonna need to apologize. And I stand in the doorway
of the bedroom. I think about my boy
and all of his shame. The kind of shame that he would hide
under the covers for that long. And so I go over, and I sit down
on the edge of the bed, and I pull the covers
back a little bit, and the first thing I see
is just this soaking wet hair, you know, like he’s been under water. And so I pull
the covers slowly back, until he’s just lying there, all curled up with his eyes closed, and he doesn’t move. It’s like he has this choice. Does he continue? Does he grab the covers and pull them
back over his head and keep hiding? Or does he just let himself lie there
totally exposed and vulnerable? So I sit on the edge of the bed,
and I say to him: “There’s nothing you could ever do
that would make me love you less.” And then slowly he sits up,
and he opens his eyes, and he plants this soaking wet head right in the middle
of my formerly dry shirt. And he wraps his little wet,
warm arms around me, and he just starts sobbing, and he cries and cries and cries, and he’s so sorry. And so I sit on the edge of the bed, holding my boy,
with the covers pulled back, repeating, “There’s nothing you could
ever do to make me love you less. There’s nothing you could ever do.
Do you realize that? Do you know that? There’s nothing you could ever do
that would make me love you less.” I mean, whatever you’ve done,
wherever you’ve been, whatever you will do, I mean,
God loves you, and God always has, and you can’t change that. Because sometimes the white ball
seems like everything, doesn’t it? It’s like, “How am I ever
gonna get away from it?” So we have no idea
what to do with our shame. So we run upstairs, and we hide
under the covers, and we keep hiding, because we don’t know
where to go or what to do. Maybe you’re like, “But you
don’t understand what I’ve done.” Or “If only you knew”… Like it says in the Book of Romans,
Chapter 8, in the Bible, “There’s nothing that could separate
us from the love of God and Jesus.” Nothing. Nothing. Nothing can separate you. So may you stop hiding
under the covers. May you let God pull the covers back. May you embrace Him. May your whole life
become a response to the truth
that you’ve always been loved, you are loved,
and you always will be loved. And may you know
deep in the depths of your soul that there’s nothing
you could ever do to make Him love you less. There’s nothing you could ever do
to make God love you less. Nothing you could ever do
to make Him love you less. Nothing. Nothing.

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