Growing up, my family and I would visit my Nana in Port Angeles. Sunday mornings, we trooped with her to church and I’d be the visitor from out of town in a Sunday School class. On one occasion, the teacher taught about Noah’s ark and how all those who accepted Jesus were basically on Noah’s ark.
Post lesson, one of the nice lady teachers asked me, “Do you feel like you’re on Noah’s ark?”
“No.” I said.
“Well, do you want to pray so you are?” She smiled a kind smile.
“No.” I looked around nervously.
Now, understand this: I was about seven years old. Let me project for you what literal seven-year-old me was thinking at the time.
“Lady, we’re in a class room. In a church. We’re not on a boat, much less Noah’s ark. So, no, I don’t feel like I’m on Noah’s ark. If I pray and ask to be on Noah’s ark, I believe you and I’ll be on Noah’s ark. I don’t like boats. So forget it.”
Older and slightly wiser now, I have accepted Christ. I understand the analogy twenty odd years later. The feelings thing has stuck with me, however. I don’t feel like I’m on the boat, mind you, but I don’t feel God’s presence, either. I don’t raise my hands or sing out during worship. I’m not a passionate prayer who can eloquently and humbly elucidate a pious petition in five minutes or more at the drop of a hymnal.
So I read Blessed Are the Misfits: Great News for Believers who are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, or Just Feel Like They’re Missing Something by Brant Hansen.
Brant Hansen is a gentleman on the autism spectrum. A writer, a radio host, and a Christian, he constantly wrestles with lack of feeling to a greater extent than I ever did or do. Through prayer, through analysis, through thoughtfulness, through his experiences he wrote Blessed Are the Misfits to help people who are going through the same thing.
With his dry wit and humor, Hansen mimics the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 with chapter titles such as “Blessed Are the People Who Can’t Pray Worth a Darn” and “Blessed Are Those of Us Who Apparently Landed on the Wrong Planet.” He stresses his faults and emphasizes his struggles and says there may be no end to them until we pass away. No easy answer or quick fixes materialize but Hansen assures readers there is hope. Throughout the book, the main message is these problems are not uncommon and Jesus loves us dearly even if we don’t feel like He does. And Hansen evermore treasures the promise of Christ in 2nd Corinthians 12:9, where Jesus’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
It wasn’t the Noah’s ark analogy that brought me to Christ or the hymns or any sermon. There are plenty of Christians who can point to one of those as their conversion experience and that’s great. It should be noted Hansen does not discount that. He wrote for those who didn’t have the Come to Jesus moment people read of in inspirational emails. He wrote for those who haven’t told anyone about Jesus due to social anxiety or introversion. With a heart for the awkward, for the out of place, he wrote to pull them close once again.
Blessed Are the Misfits: Great News for Believers who are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, or Just Feel Like They’re Missing Something was written by Brant Hansen, published by Thomas Nelson on November 28th, 2017, and contains 256 pages.