Today was a rather fascinating day, ordinary, but wonderfully fascinating all at once. Though I suppose it’s entirely possible that “fascinating” is not the most appropriate word.
I woke up and spent time with God. This morning I read through Romans 5:1-11. The one passage that caught my eye in Romans (and always seems to catch my eye whenever I read this chapter) was verses 3-5, which says:
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
I appreciate this verse especially because of my background in athletics. Now, it’s not to have ground for boasting that I bring up athletics (trust me, I was not the most coordinated or the best player on any of my teams), but rather to reflect upon the value of endurance. When you’re playing a soccer game, you can sprint and jump and kick and run all over the place if you like, but you’ll only be able to move about this way if you have endurance, if you’ve trained and built up muscle and strength to endure the difficulties of playing the game. Likewise, in our spiritual walk, without small trials (liken these to a sport practice) where we have to choose quite deliberately how we will react and if we will allow God to exercise His power through us via the Holy Spirit, then we would never build up endurance to take on the big trials, the mammoth challenges, the daunting obstacles that every Christian of genuine faith will inevitably face.
I’m so glad that God has a plan to strengthen and build us up. I’m so glad He puts people and orchestrates events in our lives to grow us and make us resilient and more dependent on Him, therefore, stronger and more able to withstand all of the nonsense that will come and that is coming. I’m so glad He didn’t just leave us out here in the world by ourselves, having to wander about without purpose or knowledge of the purpose He has for us. I’m so glad that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (v. 6). The “at the right time” always gives me chills, because it means that when Christ died, it was God’s perfect timing during which He died. God didn’t have Christ come to earth any sooner or any later in history because it wasn’t the right time, it wasn’t God’s timing. And I’m so glad He doesn’t just randomly decide to do things and that, even when I feel like what He’s doing doesn’t make any sense or has no grounds or foundation to happen, I can be sure He does everything and makes everything with a purpose behind it, and that nothing happens without Him allowing it.
I biked to church, showing up drenched in sweat (it suddenly became very humid very fast while I was biking). But I (thankfully) brought extra clothes and freshening things to make myself look decently presentable. For a little while this semester I was tempted to go to church to impress people and “make an appearance,” but then when I thought about it and remembered the point of church and what God thinks about appearances and about His bride, I realized how insanely stupid that is. If I live my life for God in the world, not worrying about trying to impress anyone, why on earth would I live oppositely within the sanctuary walls? Now, “not worrying about trying to impress anyone” doesn’t mean I shouldn’t dress modestly and be respectful, but it does mean that, ultimately, God is not swayed by appearances (Matthew 22:16) and His opinion is the one that matters. But I very much did not want to walk around sweaty and sticky and gross. That was just not an attractive thought to me.
During Sunday School and a while beforehand Maria let me hold her son, Samuel. For the longest time, and even still, though only a little bit, I was afraid to let myself hold a baby. They just seem so fragile and their bones have to be made of glass and their skin made of paper, I mean, it just has to be a biological fact considering how small and pudgy and new-baby-smelling they are. But today, while I held Samuel, I wasn’t so afraid. I enjoyed holding him. I even for a moment had a thought or two about what it would be like if I had a child. But that’s a whole other nothing that will never be talked about ever.
Jenny blessed me immensely today because I didn’t have room in my budget to buy lunch, so I’d brought a pop-tart to munch on between services (I know it’s unhealthy…trust me, I know) and she treated me to pizza without my asking. I’m slowly letting myself accept help from others, and God is slowly (slowly only because of my own stubbornness) breaking me of the independent pride that has been growing in my heart for so long.
So, there is some debate about 2 John. Now, this topic is not out of the blue, I promise. Pastor is preaching on 2 John in afternoon service, and the interpretation of exactly who the letter is written to sparked my curiosity. I did a little bit of research and this is what I found:
John’s second letter is being written to “the elect lady” (v.1). This has been interpreted as both a letter written to an individual woman and also to a congregation. At first I thought it was entirely possible that it could be interpreted either way, but then I checked it out a bit further. An ESV commentary explains that the majority of 2 John is written in the second-person plural, as in talking to a multitude of people and not just one. Also, it isn’t entirely appropriate for John to write to an individual Christian woman charging her to agree that he and she should “love one another” (v.5). Just a thought.
I rode my bike home, changed into comfy clothes, and got ready to start in on my homework but then I woke up. I don’t remember falling asleep, but I woke up in the dark and the last I remember the sky was light out. I promise this doesn’t happen often and my vitals are completely normal, but I must’ve just been much more exhausted than I thought I was. When I woke up, however, I was more than ready to do homework and study and write, and so I did. I completed several things on my To-Do list. Also during this time, I was informed via social media that two of the counselors I worked with this summer at Camp BaYouCa got engaged!
There is no greater excitement than seeing two people who love God and who are genuinely kind and good-natured and pleasant come together in this way. I’m just so ridiculously excited for them and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use them and grow them together 😀
Tomorrow kicks off a busy week, but I’m ready for the challenge, or, God is ready for the challenge, and I’m leaning and feeding off of His readiness 😛
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” —1 Thessalonians 5:16-21, ESV