I love those moments when you were nervous about something and then the something ended up not happening and in place of that something something better happened that you weren’t at all nervous about.
…maybe I should explain.
This morning I woke up, feeling kind of worried about the movie day at my friend’s house.
“Hunter, it’s a movie day. How the heck did you manage to find something to worry about concerning a movie day?”
The thing is, I would end up coming home past midnight and totally inconveniencing my friend. I was going to ask my mom what I should do but I knew she would say, “You’re becoming an adult now; whatever you think is right.”
Darn you, growing up.
But I, being the indecisive worry wart that I am, didn’t want to have to choose. So I ignored the decision. It all worked out but it’s NEVER A GOOD IDEA TO IGNORE A DECISION. Yes, it’s a great idea to think and pray before you make any humongous decisions like starting a career, moving to a new location, or getting married, but DO NOT ignore a decision and act like it’s not there, even the simple ones like movie days. This action is part of a dreadful condition called procrastination. DON’T GIVE INTO PROCRASTINATION!!!
Anyway, so I woke up from a nightmare, which I haven’t had in a very long time. It seems like, as of late, I’ve been experiencing a lot of spiritual warfare. It’s like attack after attack after attack on my mind and heart about different things. This morning, when I was telling God about my nightmare and asking Him questions, I was reminded that, even though Satan uses my fears and my past mistakes to weigh me down, to make me even more afraid than I already am, God still prevails. He can weigh me down all he wants, but he will never add any burden to the shoulders of my God. 🙂
While I was reading through Matthew during my devotions, I read something I never knew was in the Bible. So, in Matthew chapter 14, Jesus feeds five thousand men (as in, not including all of the women and children present) with only five loaves of bread and two fish, with leftovers. I’ve heard this story since I was little and I know it well. But then, when I was reading chapter 15, Jesus feeds a large multitude again, this time it’s four thousand. I never knew He did this twice; I had always thought the gospels recorded only one time when this miracle was performed by Jesus. That’s when I began to think about all of the other things Jesus probably did that aren’t recorded in the Bible. After all at the end of John it says, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25, ESV). But still, to grow up thinking there was only one record of Jesus feeding a ridiculously impossible amount of people with a pathetically small portion of food and then discovering another record is kind of a big deal. What else is in the Bible that I don’t know about? This discovery only makes me even more excited and more eager to keep studying God’s word, in an attempt to possibly further scrape the surface of His awesomeness.
Also, because it’s recorded happening more than once, much like people being healed of their sicknesses and widows and children being provided for, that means it wasn’t just some freak thing or a crazy swing of luck. “Science” says the best way to solidify a result is by performing multiple experiments. Jesus didn’t feed a ton of people just once, but twice, and that’s only what is recorded in the Bible. Imagine how many other times Jesus did this. Oh this blows my mind. No, my friends; Jesus was not a one-hit-wonder.
The second thing that captured my thoughts was a passage in Isaiah chapter 12. Verses 1 and 2 say “You (people) will say in that day (post-Messianic coming/salvation) ‘I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
First of all, I want to draw your attention to the beginning of the second line: “Behold, God is my salvation.” Amen. I am so glad that God is my salvation, that I know for sure that He is my salvation.
“For sure? Because we believe in common society that one can make his own salvation, that one can become his own god.”
Well, I’ve tried to make my own salvation, and I’ve listened to people who are in the process of making their own salvation or have been trying to be their own god for a long time, and they. Are. Miserable. Or maybe they’re not totally miserable, but you can tell that there’s just something missing. They may have a great family life, perfect finances, and a wonderful reputation, but they don’t have substance or depth of understanding. Let me clarify. It is totally possible for someone to be happy without God, for someone to have a great life without having a relationship with his Creator. But, despite this, humanity craves companionship with God, it craves hope and love and mercy, real hope, love, and mercy. It desires greater meaning and greater purpose than just living a good life and doing what makes it happy. But I digress.
“Your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.” The first part of this describes our relationship with God before salvation by grace. We were at war with God. Can you imagine? Here’s me, puny little me, holding up my fist and shield to the sky, my sword at the ready, prepared to FIGHT GOD. I don’t even need to continue. There’s was absolutely no chance for humanity. God’s wrath was upon us and we were the object of oppression because sin, our sin, had to be paid for. Let me introduce the word reconciliation. This wonderful word means, according to Webster, “to make friendly again.” In other words, we were the object of God’s wrath, but after Jesus reconciled us to God, or made us able to have a relationship with Him, we were no longer in that dreadful position: we became righteous.
Then, the next line, “that you might comfort me,” along with “God is my salvation” implies that God purposefully sent Jesus down to earth in order that we would be reconciled to Him. He wanted to have a relationship with us again, a reflection of His relationship with Adam and Eve before the Fall. Jesus’ coming was not an after thought. It was not God pacing the floor of heaven thinking, “Oh gosh, I’ve messed up; better fix this.” No. God planned this out; He had a purpose for everything and still does.
I walked out of my room after devotions and immediately went into the kitchen and baked chocolate chip cookies to bring to the movie day. My friend was supposed to pick me up around noon, which gave me about an hour and a half to bake and get ready. Well, noon time comes around and I have a weird feeling come about, like this whole movie day thing isn’t actually going to happen and I should probably just stop baking cookies. I shake it off and continue anyway.
A few minutes later, the phone rings. Movie day is canceled, up for rescheduling. I won’t lie; I was kind of excited about it not happening, not because I didn’t want to see my friend, but because I just didn’t have a good feeling about the whole thing anyway. I love it when God does that 🙂
Of course, when I walked back into the kitchen after hanging up the phone, I realized I had about three dozen cookies that I really didn’t need to bake. I put away the rest of the dough into the fridge and got all of my books and writings together, hoping God would give me something to do during the day. Well, my day consisted of writing…that’s it.
Ever since I submitted that revised spiritual allegory to my Writer’s Studio class, I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s all about a literal battle between a group of people against the power of Satan, using the power of God. It’s so much fun to write. Every time I experience spiritual warfare, I write a scene, and somehow (I’m really not sure how) it’s developing into a story. It’s absolutely nothing like the one I posted on here a couple of months ago. No; that one was stuck in two worlds, crossing and recrossing the line between reality and fantasy. This story I’m working on now is all fantasy.
The first novel I ever wrote was fantastical, and, false modesty aside, it was terrible. But I mean it was my first novel; I wrote it when I was, like, thirteen. Reading it now I realize it wasn’t that bad, but it was pretty bad. Anyway, so since then I’ve stayed away from fantasy and stuck to realistic fiction. But when I re-wrote the spiritual allegory as a fantasy (much like The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Hall of the Dragon King and the other books in the series by Stephen Lawhead), it all came together, naturally, so long as I just let myself take my time and not try to invent entire new worlds on the first page…basically, as long as I remembered that I’m Hunter and not J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis.
I spent the entire day making maps and creating names and writing scenes. I had a great time 🙂 I also played a lot of Skip-Bo and Jenga with Mom, Gracie, and Jimmy. Oh, and remember how I had disrespected my father? Well, today God blessed me, even though I totally didn’t deserve it, with reconciling me to my father. My grandmother gave my parents a large Swiss Colony ham and cheese collection for Christmas. There’s a little sample of fruitcake in it and I’ve never tried fruitcake before. My Dad asked me if I wanted it (he was pawing through it to see if there was anything good, kind of like picking out the milk chocolates in a box of Russell Stover). Letting myself be adventurous, I took the piece and bit into it, expecting to go against the grain of the holidays and fall in love with fruitcake.
Fruitcake is by far one of the nastiest things on the face of the planet, much like smoothies from Pedaler and baking chocolate.
It was a nice moment shared by me and my Dad. It’s moments like those when I remember relationships aren’t defined by being perfect, by having great big wonderful things happening all the time, but rather by the little moments that reveal the character of either person. An example of this is when I was last at the Brocks’. Whenever I’m over at their house, I do the dishes. It’s not because they ask me or because I feel obligated, but rather because I feel like their house is my house and I really enjoy doing the dishes. Well, if I’m visiting and Jacob, who’s the oldest son and also older than me, is also visiting, we’ll normally end up doing the dishes together. It’s just a thing. For some reason, a reason I haven’t quite figured out yet, he thinks it’s odd for me to do the dishes. One time, when I had just begun washing a butter knife, he came up behind me, took me by the arms, turned me away from the sink, pushing me out of the kitchen and into the dining room. I stood there, a towel over my shoulder and a sudsy sponge in one hand and a knife in the other.
The humorous argument, struggle, and my defeat following was all part of learning another person’s character, even though I didn’t see it that way until after the fact. Doing Bible study with Beth and Hannah or talking about God with my Mama is another moment. I love talking to these women about God and how much we love Him and how crazy it is that He loves us, that we’re His daughters, that we’re adopted princesses of the King of Kings. It’s things like washing dishes, doing Bible study, trying things from a Swiss Colony sampler, and playing Skip-Bo that reveal the idiosyncrasies and hidden characteristics of the people you care about. Although this sounds totally cliche, it really is the little moments that represent the best times in life.
The night ended with Gracie, Jimmy, and I watching silly videos on YouTube, mostly those of ThePianoGuys, Julian Smith, Blimey Cow/Messy Mondays, and the less vulgar Vines. They sat sprawled on the couch while I read them some of the scenes I had written for my book. They’re both really excited about it 🙂 It’s nice, when you’re excited about making something like a novel, to see other people excited about it too.
So even though things didn’t go as planned today, it turned out to be one of the best days of vacation yet. God had something much better for me to do and He took care of my nervousness and my nightmare, while simultaneously stirring my heart and bringing me closer to Him. How does He do that? How does He take a bump in the road and turn it into something that draws me into Him? I suppose the art of speaking love into every occurrence of life, whether good or bad, is an art mastered only, forever and always, by God.
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” —Psalms 103:10-14, ESV