God is so much more than I deserve. I don’t understand why He decides to bless me and love me even though I’ve lied and been selfish and apathetic and just plain unpleasant. But He does.
Since last Thursday, when my “controversial” story was critiqued rather harshly, the Holy Spirit has been tugging at my heart. I kept ignoring it, convinced my attitude concerning the whole thing was entirely justified. But justified by what?
Anyway, the way I looked at it and have been looking at it was mostly wrong. I didn’t mean for it to be a political statement about abortion, but I did make the decision to include that part. Now, while I won’t deny my thoughts and my stance on what I wrote, I did include something political in my story when I should’ve obeyed my professor—an authority placed over me by God—and not included it. It shouldn’t have mattered if others were writing about political things or not; my obedience shouldn’t be governed by what other people do. What would my testimony be like if my obedience to Christ was governed by what others did? So I apologize for saying there was nothing to fix. I disobeyed my professor and therefore disobeyed Christ. My professor was doing nothing wrong by asking that no one write about anything political; he was merely being wise and establishing professional grounds for constructive criticism of technique and writing style, which is what the class is for. It’s not the proper setting to argue politics, even if the gist of the piece wasn’t intended to bring that about.
But then of course there’s the question of if my writing about Christ and about my faith is considered a political issue…maybe I’m thinking about this too hard and I just need to do what God asks me to do. Yeah.
I need to stop overthinking about overthinking…again.
Anyway! I got home around one this morning. I took the bus out of The Shire at around seven last night and didn’t get into the City until around midnight. I’ve never gone home alone that late before, and I felt like I should be nervous, but at the same time I wasn’t. I don’t think it was ignorance, or at least I hope not, but rather the thought that I’ve never had any trouble before, save cat-calling. The cat-calling used to frustrate me and I wanted to respond, but after talking to Aunt Lori and several other wise women in my life, I was challenged to, instead of despising these men, pray for them.
“Pray for cat-callers? Really?”
Yeah, really. And since I’ve started praying for them, both in my dorm and in my head when I’m walking, I haven’t experienced any cat-calling and my frustrations when thinking about them are almost non-existent, because bringing them before Christ (who’s the One they need to talk to ultimately) reminds me that they need Him just as much as I do.
I had no problems save some nervousness. I got on the A train and a man all dressed in black (trench coat, leather gloves, boots, everything), his eyes covered by darkly-tinted glasses, and his nose and mouth hidden by a black tattered bandana of sorts walked past me, breathing hard. That was the only time I was nervous, only because the stations are filled with posters and warnings about “suspicious characters.” My nervousness was probably unmerited and there was more than likely no real danger. But as I sat there, praying nothing would happen, my nervousness disappeared and I was reminded of God and His power over men and His knowledge of the heart of man. I knew I would be just fine.
I walked in the dorm room to see Bree still awake. I quickly threw off my things and climbed into bed. Needless to say I was exhausted when I woke up this morning, and I felt the oncoming heaviness of sickness. I contemplated taking the day off, but decided not going to French class would injure my grade on the test this week, and not going to my internship would show a lack of commitment and seriousness. As I grabbed my Bible and my journal, wishing I had more time to sleep, the Holy Spirit pushed me past my exhaustion so I could spend time with God.
For the rest of the morning I struggled to push past feelings of tiredness and frustration and just plain whiney-ness. I had to trust that God was going to help me get through the day. Also, I thought about how many times Paul, Peter, John, and all the other apostles must’ve been exhausted, and yet God gave them the strength to endure unimaginable pain and fatigue. “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8,9). If God can give Paul and the other apostles the strength to get through what they went through, He is totally capable of giving me the strength to get through class and work on a Monday.
After French class, I walked to my dorm while munching on lunch (vegan pizza, which tasted, amazing) to get ready to go to the internship. I borrowed my sister’s helmet so I could ride more safely through The City, and so I wouldn’t have to walk home every time I went to the West Village. It was really nice of her to let me borrow it 🙂 So I packed my bag, grabbed my helmet, and headed down the stairs. On the last flight of stairs, however, while I was checking my email, I discovered a message from my boss saying that he was sick and asking, if it would work out, if I would come in another day. I replied to his email and then began to cry, because I was so grateful that God had blessed me in this way. I know it’s a small thing, and I know it’s not like I was on the verge of death or passing out or anything like that, but I was so relieved about not having to push through anything and just being able to relax. As I’d been walking down the stairs, I was praying for energy to ride my bike both there and back and to be full of energy in the office, but I was struggling, and for God to do that for me was so wonderful. It just…
So I went back up the stairs, unpacked my bags and put everything away, straightened up my side of the room, packed my backpack again, differently this time, and got ready to trek to the library, my favorite place on campus :). Bree came in and I told her what happened, knowing that she didn’t understand what I meant by God being wonderful and loving in this way but wanting to tell her anyway. She then, because I wasn’t going anywhere just yet, went into her study and pulled out a small gift bag with a “Happy Birthday” sign on the front of it. She’d gotten me a German-English dictionary for my birthday, which I’d really needed. It was really nice of her to get me a present 🙂 Grandma Pat and Beth wished me a happy birthday a day early, and my heart warmed and smiled. God is using the Brocks, my parents, and my church families as a huge aqueduct for encouragement, love, and blessings, and I’m beginning to see why He wants His kids to be united.
When I left the dorm, I found myself smiling. You know when you’re in love, when you’re smitten with someone, and you just smile randomly? That’s what I was doing, and I was reminded of how romantic and caring and comforting and secure God is to me, how much He loves me, how much He shows it every day I’m alive, and how often I miss it. He just cares so much, and He’s so willing to help me in my pathetic, helpless, human state. Psalm 118:13 says “I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.”
I was falling, but the Lord helped me. Why would God, so mighty and abundant in power, bring Himself to help me? I just don’t understand why. But He does. He helps me. The King of all Kings helps me, His daughter. I suppose in a way His helping me does make sense, since I am His daughter, saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9) and given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of my redeemed, royal status (2 Corinthians 1:21,22). But then even that, even the fact that He would do so much to have me, to reconcile me unto Him when He knew I’d struggle so much, deny Him so many times, doubt Him, lose reverence for Him; it’s just insane. Why would a King so great do so much to make a peasant His daughter? Why would He choose me to be the bearer of His glory, to be a means by which He would glorify Himself? Wow. To know that God is glorified and blessed through my struggles and difficulties is so amazing, and it reminds me that this is all part of His plan to bring me closer to and make me more like Him, to more fully experience the impossible vastness of His love for me and to more deeply understand His character and develop a deeper knowledge of who He is.
I spent the rest of the day in the library, writing a letter to Hannah, drinking hot chocolate, and doing miscellaneous assignments. Every time I looked out one of the giant windows of the room in which I sat, I smiled at the changing leaves on the trees and how beautiful they looked in the afternoon sun. God is so creative and makes things so beautiful, and He didn’t have to, but He did. I spent time in God’s word and spent time with Him, talking to Him and thinking on what I’d read and letting my spirit be refreshed. When God says “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart,” He means it (Jeremiah 29:12,13). God answers and comes to the aid of those who call on Him, and again, I know what happened today might seem small, but it was enormous to me.
“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.” —Romans 5:3-5