God does this thing where He reminds me that I can’t love other people without Him. Through this, He reminds me also of how much I so desperately need Him.
Last night I hit a writer’s roll, which is basically when a writer sits down to work on a project and they get going and just can’t stop. Time passes really fast and their thoughts go all over the place until before you know it five hours have passed and you’re twenty pages further along in your novel. I started at midnight. I ended at three. Twenty pages later.
I was spent.
Karly and I planned to meet at the cafeteria to grab breakfast before heading to Manhattan. I woke up at nine, spent time in God’s word and talked to Him about different things. This morning I was reminded that God’s love has the power to change the way of culture and the mind set of those in the culture. The idea of a revolutionary mind set was basically what Christ brought with Him, although it was certainly more than just a mind set. It was His love, it was Good News, it was a cosmic change. The definition of ‘revolution’, according to Webster’s online dictionary, is “a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving.” In other words, Christ’s message didn’t just bring a change in Jewish culture, but a change that effected the entire world for the rest of eternity. It’s odd; I’ve never really used the word ‘revolutionary’ to describe what Christ brought to earth, what He did, what He desires for His people, but I now see how absolutely appropriate it is.
Shannon Ethridge, while talking about this idea of the revolutionary-ness of the Gospel, used Paul as an example. By preaching and following Christ (who is the ultimate example to follow), he revolutionized many different cities and drew many to Christ. But how can we practically bring about such a revolution in our culture today? Ethridge said this:
“What can we learn from the apostle Paul if we want to be revolutionaries for Christ? Primarily that no one becomes such a difference-maker overnight. However, there are things we can do every day that will make us better able to fulfill God’s mission. We can diligently prepare for God to use us. We can pray earnestly. We must never stop learning more and more about who God is. We must seek to understand more and more about the Love Letter He has written to us. We must become students of the culture and times in which we live, recognizing why people do the things they do, and understanding why they should even be interested in hearing about a love relationship with Jesus Christ.” (Ethridge, Completely Irresistable, page 19)
It was a relief to be reminded that God doesn’t expect us to change the world overnight, but it is amazing to think about how He makes us sufficient to be ministers of this gospel. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 says “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be minsters of a new covenant…”
How cool is that? God, though He’s very aware of just how human I am, still reassures me that He’s made me sufficient to do what He’s asked me to do; He’s qualified me to do what He’s called me to do. Do not mistake me: I’m not saying that God is telling me I’m already sufficient and I just need to believe in myself. It’s just the opposite, actually. God made me sufficient. In other words, without God, I’m completely incapable of telling people about Christ and incapable of loving and ministering to others in and outside of the faith.
I got dressed and headed out to the cafeteria to meet up with Karly. We grabbed breakfast and headed to Manhattan. We had great conversations about God and about the moving adventure last night and about how excited we were about going to The Strand.
The Strand, I learned is a multiple-floor bookstore in Union Square, down the street from a very busy Zumiez and across the street from a picturesque writer’s cafe. When we stepped into the building, I had to stand and look up, playing tourist. Behind the checkout counter was one large bookshelf reaching up like a literary skyscraper. All of the books on the shelf went in order of the colors of the rainbow. I’ve never seen such a verbose Roy G. Biv in all my days.
We traveled through the stacks of the first floor. These stacks were so tall I got to climb a ladder to reach the middle shelf. I found a sequel to Pride & Prejudice, though this sequel obviously wasn’t written by Jane Austen, but rather by author Linda Berdoll. I’ve never heard of this book, but apparently Berdoll has written several others, such as Mr. Darcy’s Diary, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, and the one I found, Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley.
I guess we’ll see how it is compared to the original 🙂
I also found a book titled Prince of Peace by James Carroll. It’s about a soldier in the Vietnam war, and the plot line is similar to that of the movie Pearl Harbor, starring Ben Affleck, except the protagonist, the soldier, while trying to serve his country and defend his values at risk, is also striving to serve his God. I’m excited to read it 🙂
We searched through the stacks and ventured up and down the stairs and even entertained ourselves in the children’s section. There were books everywhere you turned, and I was happy 🙂
I left with my two books and Karly left with hers. We headed to the subway, getting ready to hop on the L to transfer to the G. As we stood on the platform, a sudden crash to our left made both of us jump. I turned and saw glass all over the platform and a man sweeping it back toward the wall with his foot. I noticed he was holding his wrist, and blooding was oozing out from underneath his fingertips.
I reached for my bright red backpack, which held my first aid kit…that’s when I remembered I wasn’t at Camp BaYouCa anymore and I wasn’t carrying my bright red backpack, which held my first aid kit, but rather my fashionable but at the moment ridiculously impractical handbag. I looked inside, hoping I might have a Mary Poppins moment and be able to pull out something useful. I grabbed the large stack of napkins that I’d kept from breakfast that morning and walked over to the man. Karly stepped up and poured her water on his wound and he applied pressure. When he removed the napkins, I saw how deep the cut was, right through the first layer of skin and almost all the way through the second…he would need stitches. We told him he’d need stitches and that he should go to the hospital, but he, a grown man, informed us it would be entirely inconvenient to go to the hospital because big things were happening for him today.
A British woman stepped up and immediately began putting band-aids on the cut. The blood coming out soaked them quickly, but she kept putting them on, five or six. He continued to put pressure on it, but told us he’d just have to go to the hospital later.
Karly and I stepped away after he’d thanked us and assured us he’d be okay. We prayed for him while standing there. Grown men are not campers: they know what’s best for them and don’t need you to tell them what to do.
We stepped onto the subway and Karly and I kept an eye on him to be sure he wouldn’t faint or fall because of the loss of blood or because of the heat or because he might be dehydrated. We were nervous. When we got off at our stop we were still nervous.
Realizing there was nothing more we could do, we walked off the train and back to campus. After dropping off our books at my dorm, we grabbed iced coffees and walked to Target, arriving just before it began to rain really hard. I returned the yoga mats I’d purchased for class and everything worked out to where I got a full refund, which was I total blessing because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to return them (for some weird, totally irrational reason). We walked back, talking about Mormonism and God and different things, many things that made me think.
When I got back, I talked to God for a while, then I talked to my mom, being encouraged and edified by what she told me and by our conversation. After hanging up with her, I began to near the end of my To Do list and just relaxing.
Today was a day full of books, full of challenges, both physical and mental and especially spiritual, but God nevertheless brought me to rest in Him. I always struggle with feeling like I have to do everything right and not mess up, but then I remember that I can’t live trying not to mess up; I’ll drive myself crazy, though, at this point, it’s quite possible I’m close enough to walk 😛 God created me to depend on Him for everything, from loving Him to loving life to loving people, and He’s assured me that I can rest on His promises and His character, especially when my own are obviously lacking in one way or another. I’m just glad that I have Him to run to, that He so willingly opens His arms up to me and desires that I come to Him, that He initiated the relationship and proved that He’s here to stay, that no matter what I do, what I’ve done, what I will do He will not leave me. I can just, *sigh*….I can just rest in Him, when my mind and heart are tired and when I’m not sure how to handle or react to things, He can handle them and act on them. I have no idea what I’m doing, but God has explained that it’s not my responsibility, but His. He is the Author of Life and the Orchestrator of His plans for my life. I am free to wipe my hands of the future and just focus on and follow Him passionately and devotedly.
And yes, I can rest.
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
—Matthew 11:29, 30, ESV