Is This It?
I live for them.
Ever since I can remember, I labeled the value of my days, months, summers and holidays by what amazing thing was gonna happen.
The anticipation paired with the unknown sprinkled with ignorance always made for enjoyment.
Somewhere along the way, it would always dawn on me.
“I waited 3 months to come to my cousin’s house.”
“I couldn’t wait for my friend’s pool to be open.”
“I thought my birthday would never get here.”
Is this it?
Is this everything I hoped for and dreamed of?
Is this the pinnacle of my summer?
It was fun when I was younger.
Now, not so much.
I read a book once that said that people ask people they meet, “What do you do?”
That question is built on the foundation that whatever you’re doing has a trajectory.
We mentally tally people’s “worth” by what they do.
We do so on the assumption that whatever they’re doing is it.
Where you see yourself in 5 years.
Some of us might have to fly to where others might have to crawl.
Physically. Academically. Financially. Spiritually.
The question is, are we gonna be okay with that?
Everything could line up.
The stars. The people. The places. The times.
Whatever “it” we get is whatever we might have to deal with.
When Mr. and Mrs. Mrema threw me to the wolves (and by wolves I mean Bible College at 18 with a suitcase, ‘97 VW Jetta, and a crisp $100 bill), my mom reluctantly said, “Shama we don’t have much money. You know how we’ve lived. We have never spent extravagantly, but we have just not been able to save enough to help with your schooling.”
I kissed my mom on the cheek, told her that it was okay.
At that moment in the Woodwinds Apartment Complex parking lot.
A few weeks went by and I remember crying my eyes out in bed.
This is it, God? My parents give up everything to serve you on a fixed salary only to be of no assistance to my future? Is this it?
If had a dollar for every time I doubted something, I’d probably have enough money to eradicate most of my “problems.”
Have you ever read a book and found yourself in it? A character leaps out at you and you realize that they are you and you are them.
This happened to me while reading Matthew 11.
Set up… this is about John the Baptist.
He’s 6 months older than Jesus and was called from the womb to prepare the way for the Lord (Jesus).
He did so by devoting his life to the wilderness, baptizing people in the Jordan river, and constantly reminding people in Matthew 3:
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven, is at hand.”
3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’”
Just in case you’d like a visual representation of the homie, verse 4 says that he wore camel’s hair and a leather belt and his go-to grubbing was locusts and wild honey.
Did I start by saying that I identified with him? Not this part. I’m a 21st-century foodie who buys clothes from Plato’s Closet.
Anyway, people flocked to see John at the river and he baptized them and told them to confess their sins.
A pinnacle of JB’s ministry was when He baptized Jesus in Matthew 3.
John recognizes who He is. Jesus waits in line. The line inches forward. Jesus and John are face to face and John goes, “Yo, this should be vice versa.”
15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.
16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
(s/n: If you’re ever talking to someone who disputes the functioning oneness of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, point them to verses 16 and 17)
Anyways, how crazy is John’s life?
He spent years being the hype man.
Decades being the middle man.
Months generating interest for… THE ONE.
It only took Jesus 30 years. Nothing major.
John baptizes Him assuming that THIS IS IT.
When Jesus’ drenched light sandy brown hair emerges from the sun-kissed Jordan river, and the Holy Spirit lands on Jesus’ shoulders LIKE a dove and God himself’s voice booms from Heaven and says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” the John my brain conjures uplifts both hands as a touchdown gesture and does the first dab in history!
What an event!
What a time to be alive!
THIS IS FREAKING IT.
John is satisfied, his work is complete, he hangs up his camel leather jacket.
John is doubtless.
So you’d assume.
We catch up with John in Matthew 11.
He’s in prison.
Orange is the new camel hair.
We don’t know how long he was there but it couldn’t have exceeded 3 years seeing as how Jesus’ ministry lasted from ages 30 to 33.
John saw and heard the trinity act in one day.
He was devoted to way making.
Passionate about the cause.
He once famously said, “I must decrease so that He can increase.”
I don’t think this is what he had in mind.
Prison in Bible times consisted of no amenities or food.
So, if you didn’t have some people from the outside bringing you food or fluids, you were gonna die.
John had his disciples. His homies. His squad. His group. His posse. Baplievers.
I’m imagining they came day after day.
Nourishing his body, giving him whatever encouragement they had and occasionally informing him of the word on the street about Jesus. Things probably didn’t add up to John’s perception. He probably expected greater. A revolution. Groundbreaking anarchy against Rome. Tales of Jesus putting Pharisees and Sadducees in a choke hold in the synagogue octagon. He heard none of that.
“Uh, ooh! He turned water into wine at a wedding, JB. We thought that was pretty cool.”
“He’s been teaching cool stuff on a mound.”
“He spit on the ground, made mud, caked it on a blind man’s eyes and told him to wash it off, and when he did, he could see.”
“He turned a boy’s happy meal into a feast for a crowd of over 10k! Eh? Eh? No? We thought it was pretty cool!”
I’m not trying to belittle any of Jesus’ works. He’s the G.O.A.T.
He was touching lives when no one else would.
But to the current world of believers and followers, they expected more.
John becomes a bit skeptical, a little hesitant, bewildered.
John sat up in the chair, leaned in, clenched tightly onto the corded phone and gently laid his hand on the window.
“Guys check this out, thanks for the Big Mac, I need you guys to go to Jesus for me.” Matthew 11:3 picks up with him beseeching them to go and ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
John literally sent men to ask Jesus, IS THIS IT?
Are you the real deal?
Are we waiting for another?
Yeah, I heard the voice, saw the Spirit and touched the Jesus, allegedly.
But is this what we were all to look forward to?
Jesus sent his disciples back to the sender and said in Matthew 11:4-6,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
With a few sentences, Jesus sufficiently dispelled doubt from John.
Not only did he dispel it, he taught him how to continuously rid his brain of it.
Yo, go tell John what you’ve seen and heard.
Always remind yourself of what God has done for your life.
Jesus lists a couple and wraps his beckoning with, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Barnes’ Notes Commentary explains the last part as,
Happy is he who shall not take offense at my poverty and lowliness of life, so as to reject me and my doctrine. Happy is the one who can, notwithstanding that poverty and obscurity, see the evidence that I am the Messiah, and follow me.
Happy is the person who views their Savior and current existence as a gift from God and doesn’t take offense. Isn’t embarrassed. Doesn’t doubt. Never second guesses. Believes.
THIS. IS. IT.
Milestones. Life. God.
It is what you’re working with.
Your dealt cards.
Are you waiting for more? Define more?
Are you waiting for better? That might be it for you.
Do you have a couple of doubts? Always remind yourself what God has done for you already and remember that you are blessed if you don’t doubt the process.
Personally, I have to stay in the Bible.
My problems increase when my knowledge of God decreases.
Whatever the time, place or device I use doesn’t matter.
I just know that I’m less intimidated by my situations, my need, lack, or life when what’s fresh on my mind is that the God who created me made the world in 7 days,
made man from dirt,
gave a 100-year-old woman a son,
sent His Son down to earth,
opened blind eyes,
raised the dead,
and consistently taught the most profound truths known to man.
There’s nothing in my life that the Bible hasn’t spoken to me about.
The Bible is new, fresh, and refreshing every time I turn the pages, open the Bible app, or hit play in the Audible app.
The closest I’ve been to Roman prison is breaking down in my room and hiding in my walk-in closet so my siblings wouldn’t hear me.
I had a ton of doubts and no disciples to send to Jesus.
But I was reminded of John the Baptist and of the perfect yet puzzling track record of Jesus.
You’re not alone, friend.
I heard an old black lady once say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
I’m pretty sure I’ve made God ROFLOL (Rolling on the floor laughing out loud) too many times with my plans.
Our plans are His plans that we are graced and privileged to live out.
So instead of asking, I proclaim–just like Michael Jackson’s last album and a world tour that he announced but didn’t live to perform–THIS IS IT.
This is where I am. Beyond me is where God is. I need to trust Him.
And dem da facts 😉