Everyone once in a while I have those days where I wake up and I just need to be knocked around a few times before I remember who I am, not just as myself but who I am in Christ. I woke up this morning just not even thinking about it.
The bathroom downstairs was locked, so I couldn’t take a shower before church and I was really discouraged because I felt like I was already running late. I ended up going to the upstairs bathroom. When I had finally gotten changed and set to leave, I realized I hadn’t even sat down with God yet.
I can just do it on the train. I rationalized. But that just didn’t feel right. I really needed to sit down and talk to God. If He’s so patient with me, with everything I do, with how long it takes me to get what He’s trying to tell me, then I can sit down in the morning with Him for at least twenty minutes.
So I sat down, opened my journal, devotional, and Bible, and began. I went through chapter twenty of Revelation this morning. This is the part of the end times when Jesus comes and reigns on the earth for a thousand years (some argue the throne of Christ is actually located in heaven, but for the sake of this blog post and because I am not a biblical scholar, I’m going to say it’s on earth) and when Satan is finally imprisoned, never to deceive the world again. Wow! Isn’t that crazy? This is the actual verse: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand year were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.” (Revelation 20:1-3, ESV). Now, I’m not sure why Satan must be released for a little while, but later in the chapter, when he is released, he goes and gathers an army against God. First of all, I wonder if Satan realizes how idiotic it is to think that he can defeat GOD with a mortal army….mkay. ANYWAY. What happens is Satan leads this army against God, and rather than wait for him to get close to wherever the “fighting” point is, God’s just like, “No. I’ve had enough of your nonsense,” and God sends fire down from heaven to consume them (Revelation 20:7-10). Just like that. Isn’t that amazing!? The title, in my Bible, of this particular passage is “The Defeat of Satan.” So, even though it’s hard to fight him now, and hard to fight my own ridiculousness and move it out of the way so I can see the One I love, Satan is going to get his butt kicked. God is going to win.
Outside, Mr. Fall had woken up from a summer slumber and was wreaking havoc on moisturized skin and un-chapped lips: in other words, it was cold, cloudy, and windy. On my way to the subway station, I saw that some of the roads were blocked off. There was a praise and worship team playing outside of a nearby church and people were jammin’ to it 😀 I thought it was a parade of some sort, but I later discovered that it was a marathon. I wished I could’ve stayed and watched, but then I realized what I had awaiting me at church 🙂
This morning Pastor talked about parenting and kids and about teaching honor in the home. Thinking about that made me wonder if I would ever be capable of rearing children. I can’t imagine having to be a parent right now. But I guess, like marriage, it’s nothing you can really ever prepare for well enough. You don’t really know what to do until you get there. Yeah, you can read all the books, blogs, and magazines you want, attend all of the best classes and talk to all the right people, but when the time comes, it’ll be like going on a brand new adventure, experiencing territory that no one has ever experienced before. After all, every couple is different: every child is different. Even if I might never be ready, I know for sure that I’m nowhere near ready now.
The afternoon service was talking about levels of spiritual growth. In 1 John chapter two, verses twelve through fourteen, it says “I (Paul) am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” Now, there’s a lot of repetition in this passage but there’s a lot of interesting things to be seen as well. Pastor described this as the way to “measure our spiritual growth.” “Children,” in this verse, is referring to those of infant like faith, or “baby Christians.” These are Christians who have just been saved and don’t really know a ton about God but they know that He loves them. “Young men” is referring to those who are on their way to becoming wiser in their journey with God. And “fathers” are those who have been with God for some time, and, though they’re continually growing, have experience with His ways and have a better (though definitely not ever complete) understanding of God’s will for their life. I thought this was really interesting, because I always wonder where I’m at exactly. Am I going in the right direction? Are my studies doing anything for my relationship with God? Am I still considered a baby Christian? Even though I kind of know where I am now, it doesn’t really matter so long as I don’t stay here. I need to keep going. When I study God’s word, it helps me know about God.
This brings me to one of the reasons I needed to be knocked around today. I had forgotten who I am in Christ today, and I had momentarily forgotten who God is. When Pastor was talking about studying the Word in order to know God, something clicked in my brain.
God, who are You?
I flipped to Psalm 103 and 139, my go to chapters for when I have this question, which, because I’m human and emotional and I doubt, actually happens often. 103 is all about exactly who God is, what He’s done for you and for me, and why He’s worth worshiping. 139 is all about how God sees us, about His character, and about just how well He knows us. Reading these encouraged me a lot, and I suddenly felt at peace.
This whole entire moment was a total God thing, because if my heart hadn’t been made right, then I would never have been able to enjoy the following events. After the last service, me and a bunch of church people were waiting in the church foyer to go to Rebounderz, and we were all ready bouncing off the walls.
Before I continue, I would like to introduce a few new characters. Adham, Dina, Denis, and Marco. These four made this field trip; their personalities are so exotic and so outgoing that you can’t help but be excited about life when you’re around them.
When we got out on the road (eleven of us were squished into a church van, which reminded me very much of soccer trips in my Christian school’s van), we hadn’t driven twenty minutes when the van stalled. It just stalled smack dab in the middle of mild traffic.
“We’re going to die.” I said.
Dina began praying. I honestly hadn’t even thought about praying, but the moment she started, it suddenly made a ton of sense to do so. Both of us began praying, and soon the van started up again. Then, as we were getting on the freeway, it stalled again, this time in heavy traffic.
“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh.” I’m sure my panicking wasn’t helping anything, but everyone around me was laughing it off. Sam was a trooper: he was the one driving this thing. The whole of us began referring to the van as Jezebel. Yes. THE Jezebel. Eventually the van rode relatively smoothly, but during the time it was stalling I was incredibly frightened but also excited at the same time: this was an adventure.
When we FINALLY arrived at Rebounderz, we were told that, even though Sam had called ahead to confirm time and date and finances more than one time, trampoline dodge ball didn’t start until eight and ended a ten. The time had presently been about 6:00pm, so we had an hour or two to kill. When he told us this, all I could think about was having to go home on the subway at 11:00pm with Alex, the guy in my writing major, who is slowly becoming a good friend 🙂 Even though I wouldn’t be alone, I was still nervous. But I decided not to worry about it, because at that point, it was out of my control.
We all consented to waiting until eight and we decided to go eat dinner to eat up time (get it, eat up time, dinner :D). We went to Subway. Our group took up nearly all of the seats in the small little restaurant, and after awhile it became a session of storytelling, side-splitting laughter, and jokes. Adham and Denis together are two brilliant storytellers. They had the entire group laughing until we were on the verge of tears. It was great 🙂
Then it was time.
The Rebounderz arena is exactly that: an arena. There’s a section for basketball, a section for arcade games, and then in the center is a huge contraption that is the trampoline magnificence. We had to wear shoes that felt very similar to wrestling shoes, and we had to wear helmets that were made of material similar to wrestling head gear. Just the feeling of the equipment was making me excited.
Well, after the first game of dodge ball, I felt like I had just done fifteen suicides after a week or so of not doing anything. The thinness of the air, due to the season, didn’t help anything either. For a moment I thought I was having some kind of asthma attack. But I survived and continued playing.
At first I was really nervous: I was seriously afraid of spraining an ankle or twisting a limb, because I feel like that always happens to me, no matter how hard I try to prevent it. But after dodging quite a few missile-throws very matrix-like, I finally got over my fears and began catching balls and tagging people out.
Alex was awesome. He was like a ninja! He was really pulling some epic matrix moves, and all of us were in awe of his performance. When he came off the stage of trampolines, everyone praised him and gave him high-fives, and I was overcome with gladness while witnessing the acceptance my friends showered on him. It was nice to see him finally find his niche 🙂
I was reminded of how he had come to my church. If I had given into my fear of hiding my faith, then Alex never would’ve approached me to talk about my church, and, ergo, he never would’ve come. God really knows what He’s talking about, ya know? When He said, “Don’t hide your faith. Don’t deny Me,” He really knew how that would affect the people around His kids, how that would affect humanity. Why do I constantly think my way is better, when His track record is spotless and mine was originally black until it was washed clean with His blood? Hm.
During one of the games, I had two missiles and I was trying to hand one to Dina. I dramatically jumped over to a trampoline square to hand her one, and I was blindsided by a ball moving fifty miles an hour: it nailed me right in the face and I was down. No, I did not cry. It really stung, but I stood up and walked to the side because I was out. Then I laughed because Adham got hit in the face too 🙂
On the ride home, we all laughed and picked on each other and I really felt loved. The fact that everyone in that van could kid around with me and insult me and pick on me like I was some kind of adopted little sister, made me realize just how connected we are in Christ. You may think, “well, people can be that way without Christ.” Not in this way. This way showed that, even if none of us had ever met the others, we would still see each other in heaven. This connected us on a level that no friends can experience outside of the Holy Spirit, outside of salvation. It’s beautiful.
What was not beautiful was my idiocy at our pit-stop. Sam had to stop and get gas and the gas station had a Dunkin’ Donuts in it. Denis and I and a few others went inside to get something warm to drink. They didn’t have any apple cider, so I was very sad. When I went to go out of the store, I pushed the wrong door and it stuck. I very nearly squished my face up against the glass before I caught myself. I knew Denis was right behind me, and I knew that if he saw that I had pushed the wrong door, I would never hear the end of it. But before I could do anything, he walked out the right door and turned to see what I was doing. The moment he realized my ignorance, he fell to the sidewalk laughing. My face turned beet red and I began making my way back to the van. Everybody kept asking what I had done to Denis, and I just smiled, not really sure how to explain. Denis was completely confident in his explanation. Let’s just say there were a lot of door jokes made during the rest of the ride home.
“Does your home have an automatic door?”
“When a door doesn’t open, do you just look for a button?”
“Do you sometimes observe doors, wondering, ‘What is this odd contraption?'”
And I took the picking-on because I knew it was their way of showing they love me.
We were nearing church, and the haunting thought of taking the G train back to Pratt (which would take us about an hour, and it was already 11:00pm) came back to the front of my brain. Then, at the exact moment I was thinking about this, Sam offered to drive me and Alex home. I thanked God and thanked Sam and was so relieved. I know that God can protect me on the streets of New York just like He can protect me from anything else, but I really was dreading that experience.
Total God thing 🙂
So this evening was kind of awesome. God reminded me of who He is, of who I am in Him, of what He wants for me, and of what He’s done for me. Sometimes I forget these things…I just get so caught up in life and worrying that I totally forget who has my heart, who I belong to. I forget why I’m here, what the point of my existence is, Who created me and made me the way I am right now. But God in His gentle ways, which are somehow firm and clever at the same time, brought me back to Him. 🙂
“‘She forgot me,’ declares the Lord. ‘That is why I am going to win her back. I will lead her into the desert. I will speak tenderly to her.” —Hosea 2:13, 14, GWT