I remember many times throughout the summers at home, particularly when life was pleasant and my family was in a period of peace, my family and I would sit out on the back porch of our house as thunder clouds rolled, calling a storm. Mom would always sit in a fold-out camping chair and I’d sit in the one next to her. Gracie and Jimmy would sit on the ground or stand. As each rumble of thunder came in with a flash of lightning, Jimmy would tell us how many miles away it was based on how the sound traveled. And for a moment, everything would be calm. The birds would stop singing, the wind would die down, and the air was still.
That’s kind of how life feels right now.
Not in that I’m waiting for a storm, as in something bad, but I’m kind of in that preparation stage for something wonderful 🙂 Something adventurous. Something new. And God always uses these things to grow me in dependence on Him, to show me something about Himself, or to remind me of something I’ve too long forgotten. And I can’t wait.
This morning I woke up refreshed, which hasn’t happened in a while. It was one of those days where it’s sunny and cold and absolutely beautiful. These mornings are one of those many love-letter sticky notes that God cares to give me, the little things that make me remember He loves me in the big things and in the small things, that everything has His fingerprints all over it, even the bad things, where He works to fight for those He loves, where He works to shut out evil and shine as a sword piercing the darkness. He’s kind of awesome in that way 🙂
I sat down to study my Bible and through Bible Study I was reminded of just how much courage it takes to accept the fact that God wants to bless me, how much bravery is required to see the fulfillment of God’s promises in my life. What I mean by this is that, when God says “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11) when His word says “The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us…he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great,” (Psalm 116:12a, 13), I have two choices: I either believe that this is true, that His plans for me are good and I can depend on Him to carry out those plans, that His desire is to bless me as I strive to know Him and be dependent on Him, or I can doubt and not believe that this is true, shut myself up and trust in my own devices, live in fear of His word being false.
This isn’t easy, at least it hasn’t been for me. To completely surrender my entire future to Christ, to open myself up to His blessing me as He’s promised or to seeing that He’s not actually who He says He is reigns as one of the biggest fears I’ve ever faced. To be vulnerable with a human being is one thing, but to be vulnerable to Someone who has control over the outcome of my entire life? That’s something completely different.
And yet I’ve learned, though I’m certainly still growing in this, that God is dependable. He’s proven time and time again, in my life and in the lives of those around me, particularly the life of my brother Stephen and my mom, that He keeps His promises and He never leaves His kids hanging. I can’t think of one time that God has let me down. I’ve certainly let myself down several times, and other people have let me down, but anything God has asked of me has never left me empty or unfulfilled, not when I was depending on Him through it.
Even here at Pratt, the place I originally hadn’t planned on going to for college, I’ve certainly experienced bouts of doubt, frustration, fear, and anxiety, but God, as He promised, always provided comfort, delivery, and a way of escape into endurance. Ergo, God is dependable, and I will strive to be courageous and let Him bless me, to see His promises fulfilled. I will trust that He has this under control and that He has a plan and even when I worry or when I forget that He is who He says He is, I’ll trust even then that He’s enough and that He doesn’t change based on how I feel or how things look from where I sit.
After Bible Study, I sat back and enjoyed the crisp sunlight of the morning. And then I ordered Chinese for the first time while being in The City, and while I realize that’s a very mundane sort of thing to do, I felt rather accomplished 😛 I went to pick it up from a restaurant called Sapolo on Myrtle Ave. The inside of the restaurant greets you first with a floor to ceiling water fountain based by neutral-colored stones and clear water running over them. The booths and bar and decor are tasteful and well-organized, and everything is very clean. I decided I liked it and would return 🙂 I talked to the man behind the counter about the restaurant, since it was completely empty. He gave me my food as we talked. He said business was slow because it was too cold. I imagine he meant people didn’t like to go out to restaurants in the cold, but I’m not sure, because going out in the winter time is a beautiful sort of experience, especially with a destination characterized by warm food and a friendly atmosphere.
I walked back to my dorm and when I pulled out all of the food, I was astonished to see just how much food it was. Needless to say, I didn’t eat all of it and saved most of it for later.
I spent most of the day talking to God, skyping with Mom, doing homework and just relaxing. The air is frigid here, though clearly not as frigid as back upstate (it was nine degrees there last night). I stayed bundled up for most of the day, and it was awesome 🙂
So, egg drop soup is one of the most peculiar things I’ve ever eaten, or attempted to eat. It’s like…it’s like gel, or something. Or an undercooked bowl of yolk. It didn’t taste bad, but it was…odd.
Around six I went and worked out. A light workout, not as intense as usual. My brain is running on “athletic mode” and it’s a rusty sort of feeling since I haven’t been in that mindset for over a year now, the last time being during wrestling season my senior year of high school. It’s strange how that seems so long ago.
Did I mention Thanksgiving break is in less than a week? 😀 Did I also mention that I get to see my family next Wednesday? Oh, did you know that I’m taking a road trip with my absolute best friends to Ft. Campbell next Friday? Yes, all of that is happening, and God is awesome.
Remembering that God has a hand in this crazy thing called life is exceptionally reassuring, especially considering the knowledge of His ability to lead and His desire for my good and His glory. I can be confident, because He tells me exactly what His intentions are and what He thinks of me and how He sees me and what He expects of me, that He won’t lead me anywhere He hasn’t been before, won’t pull me in a direction that will harm me or destroy me, but always build me up in Him. The place He takes me to might be difficult, more than I can handle, but that’s why my “success” depends on Him and not on me. It’s just a matter of remembering this.
It’s a matter of just letting Him be God and letting Him bless me and taking it as that, not as a trick or a joke or anything, but accepting the fact that God wants to bless me when my goal is His glory, just as He told David in 2 Samuel chapter 7. I’m sometimes concerned that I just don’t deserve it, that I’m not good enough, not important enough to be blessed. Truth be told, I’m not. But that’s why God blesses me, to show me His grace and to give me a glimpse of His steadfast, all-consuming love for me. And that’s insane 🙂
“Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” —Psalm 71:3, ESV