So, I’m headed to college in less than two weeks…that’s not a lot of time. Summer is practically over, and life is shifting into a new phase, God is bringing new winds about, and things are changing. Sometimes I wonder why things have to change, why people have to leave and why they have to come. I was listening to These Things Take Time by Sanctus Real the other day, and I smirked at how much the lyrics resembled my own thoughts:
“I want to know why pain makes me stronger,
I want to know why good men die.
Why am I so afraid of the dark, but I stray from the light?
I want to know why You gave me eyes when faith is how I see.
And tell me, is it easier to doubt or harder to believe?”
But then I remember that change is necessary, extremely so, if I ever want to grow up, if I ever want to experience half the things God has planned for me, if I ever want to learn just what it means to love like Christ loves me. I have to change.
Today I spent a good hour or two talking to my grandparents. I haven’t been able to sit down and talk to them as much as I’ve wanted to this summer, but this afternoon was wonderful. I love listening to my grandparents as they talk about what life was like when they were my age. It saddens me though, as I realize just how much things have changed for the worst, and knowing what’s going to happen in the end, knowing the pain that’s going to ensue after the Rapture, doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. I’ve often battled with cynicism concerning End Times, because why should I pray for my country, for the world, when I know what’s going to happen in the end anyway? But then it’s like, “Don’t you remember the hope to which you’ve been called? Don’t you remember the love and perseverance of the Spirit given to you?” And then I feel like a doofus and get back to being a relatively normal human being.
I realize that when I talk about the Rapture I sound a bit crazy, kind of like the guy in the Disney movie “Hercules” running through Thebes (The Big Olive, hehe), wearing not so much clothing and hollering “The end is near!” and the like. But hey, the book of Revelation lays out how things are going to end, and while the process is painful and frightening and I don’t quite understand all of it, I know the conclusion is magnificent. Sorry, bit of a rabbit trail.
ANYWAY. I’m beginning to learn that questions are good (which is kind of a weird lesson for me to learn at this point in time because questions, both random and relevant are kind of my thing), but that certain questions just can’t be answered right now. It’s okay that I don’t know if I’ll ever get married. It’s okay that I don’t know what’s going to happen after college. It’s okay that I’m unsure with my words and shaky in my speech. It’s okay that I don’t understand how everything that’s happening now will play out later in life, or even if they’ll play out at all. It’s okay that I can’t quite see the good that comes out of the terrible, or the wonder that comes from the hard things. It’s okay that I’m completely without a plan, and it’s okay that I’m leaving the course and government of my life to the invisible hands of a Creator that everyone sees as “The Big Man Upstairs” instead of a savior that’s the exact opposite of distant. It’s okay that everything except God and His word is uncertain.
This morning I was reading through Matthew, and Joseph’s compliance with everything God asks him to do spur of the moment always amazes me. The Lord appeared to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus Christ, three times in Joseph’s dreams, leading him to safety with him and his wife, Mary, and child, Christ. And each time, there was no record of Joseph saying “But what about such and such?” or “Well, didn’t you think of so and so?” or “I don’t know about that…might be too risky.” He just up and did it. “Oh, You want me to marry Mary even though it’s entirely possible she’s been seeing another man and is now carrying his child? Sure God, whatever You want, I’ll do it. I trust You.” “Oh, You want me to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt because Herod is gonna try and kill us? Sure, I’ll leave right now.” “Oh, You want me to go back to Israel now that Herod’s dead? Yeah, sure, let’s go.” He just went. Without asking any questions. How?
I want to do that. I want to be able to just do instead of having to analyze and question every possible scenario that may or may not happen. I want to trust God so much that asking questions concerning the unknown doesn’t even cross my mind. But it’s not enough to just talk about my desires, it’s not enough to spill them out onto a computer screen.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” —James 1:22-25, ESV
God says via James that if I hear God’s word, if I hear His commands and His pleas for my return and my obedience and His charge to prepare myself for action and don’t act on it, then I’m just deceiving myself. God’s word says so much about acting on what He says, on what He’s done for me. It’s not enough to study theology and read my Bible if I’m not applying it to my life and carrying it out. God has given me everything I need to not be a slave to sin anymore, He’s empowered me to follow Him wholeheartedly and enabled me to fight temptation. So what’s holding me back? What’s holding you back? What’s keeping Christians from just following God, the One we claim to give everything to when we’re actually holding onto everything we own with a death grip? What’s keeping us from living with less, from giving generously of our time, money, energy, and every other resource at our Father’s disposal, from loving like we’re not scared?
And how can I walk forward in this?
How can I walk back to New York City in this?
How can I walk through the halls of Pratt Institute in this?
How can what I say now reign true when things get hard?
…by remembering that God is the real in a world of fake, and that He never moves, and that when it would be easy to give in and bend to the will of the world, He’s strong enough to hold me up when I can’t walk anymore, strong enough to have me speak in kindness instead of losing my temper, He’s eloquent enough to helps me speak against injustice in love and grace. He’s beyond me.
He’s beyond me 🙂
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
—Psalm 139:23,24 ESV