For the entire duration of the winter season, New York City has gotten one major dumping of snow that I’ve witnessed. This morning when I woke up, however, I looked out my window to see the tops of apartment buildings covered in snow, the white stuff filling every corner on the concrete ground level, and the threat of more of it to come hanging wonderfully in the sky. I just still think it’s so cool (literally!) that God took something so dreadful as winter (because, when you think about, it’s when everything dies or hides away from the cold and increased darkness) and turned it into something so beautiful. He’s really good at that 🙂
So many things have changed and shifted and moved since the beginning of the semester, and it’s only been a week. My entire family (Mom, Dad, Gracie, and Jimmy) brought me back to the City, and while I knew some of the time would be tense, I was just glad that all of us were doing something together 🙂 This morning my Dad made Gracie and Jimmy omelets for breakfast back in the Shire, and I have to say that I miss them already. But it’s okay 🙂 because I know I’ll see them soon, and I know God loves them and has them covered. I have noticed, however, that as I get older, I begin to feel more responsible for the welfare of my family. But this comes with a difficult understanding of the fact that God is the One who takes care of them ultimately, that no matter how much I want to fix things, pat out wrinkles, provide means, or mediate in any way, God has the healing power that’s actually going to heal effectively, He owns everything in the world and created everything in the universe, and I am virtually helpless when compared to how so not-helpless He is.
A few days ago I received two Army-green envelopes in the mail from a certain sergeant posted in South Korea 😀 God continues to bless me with Jacob and challenge me through him in many ways. His ministry in Korea and all that’s going on in his part of the world encourages me and many others, and it’s really awesome 😀
Once again, I find myself reading far too many books all at once. I’m currently reading The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer, Knowing God, by J.I. Packer (yes, I’m still reading it), North & South, by Elizabeth Gaskell (yes, I’m still reading that one too), and A Love Worth Giving, by Max Lucado, to name a few. On Monday, when I was preparing for the commencement of school, talking to God about my fears, about my uncertainties, I read a few things that made things sort of, well, click.
The first thing was Tozer. God’s omnipresence is something I’ve never really been able to grasp, the fact that He’s EVERYWHERE all at once. I know that I’m never truly alone, because He’s always there, even when I do feel lonely. But, especially in class, to really think about the fact that He’s right there, witnessing all that’s going on, and being secure in that is wonderful! I liken it to knowing that my mom is there, not that I liken her to God in my life, but as far as a real, physical person is concerned. Sometimes it’s enough just to have someone there, someone who understands where you’ve been, can see where you’re going or the potential of where you could go, and who can watch what you’re doing and support you in that, loving you all the way. Well, God is that way 🙂 And knowing that He’s right there when I’m talking about His love letter to me, when I’m talking about the Bible, my perspective on a particular novel or story as I see it with a Christian worldview (that word sounds very cold, but I’m not sure how else to describe it) is very reassuring. So many people who claim to even just believe in God, though they might not go any further with that statement, see God as a distant ruler of the occurrences and processes of the world. Oh, but He’s so much more than that! He deeply cares about what’s going on with His creation, especially us. Why else would He have sacrificed so much to have a relationship with us, not for His good at all, but for ours? Just a thought.
Tozer, in The Pursuit of God, says this: “What does the divine immanence mean in direct Christian experience? It means simply that God is here.” I don’t know about you, but when I think through the words and say them slowly, “God, is, here,” it’s both intimidating and heart shattering. He’s here. Not just up in heaven, watching as we tear ourselves apart. Not in everything, not in His creation as in being equated with them (because that’s Pantheism, and the Creator is very much separate though intimately associated with His creation: One does not equal the other), but here, with us, participating in our lives, even though we can’t see it. Yeah, it certainly could make especially the unbeliever rather paranoid, even the believer could become so, all negative connotations of the word “paranoid” included, but for me, as a daughter of the King, as a child of God, it’s the most reassuring thought in my head. God is here, and He sees, and He hears, and He understands, and He cares. I’m not doing this by myself.
The second thing was from Packer. Now, I’ve always been under the impression that, as I grew in my knowledge of God and in my relationship with Him, as I slowly and continuously came to a deeper understanding of what it means when I say that I’m puny when compared to Him, and yet He, a King, still cares to help me, I would also gain understanding as to the “why” of His ways. And I do ask why, trusting that He’ll either reveal to me the answer or He’ll ask me to trust Him and move forward anyway. The latter is the most common response. But! this is great!
Packer, in Knowing God takes the reader through the book of Ecclesiastes in a wonderful way, and, when I read Ecclesiastes and check Packer’s words against what God says in His word to be sure there’s no mix up, I realize that wisdom, which is what I think I ask God for more than anything, just to understand or be satisfied with not understanding or something of the like, is not so much understanding why God does the things He does, but understanding that God is wise enough to know what’s best, to be okay with moving forward in trust in Him even if I don’t understand exactly why He’s doing what He’s doing. It’s looking at the world exactly as it is, realistically, not so much as how I wish it would be, and understanding that God is still good.
Packer says “This is the way of wisdom. Clearly, it (wisdom) is just one facet of the life of faith. For what underlies and sustains it? Why, the conviction that the inscrutable God of providence is the wise and gracious God of creation and redemption. We can be sure that the God who made this marvelously complex world order, and who compassed the great redemption from Egypt, and who later compassed the even greater redemption from sin and Satan, knows what he’s doing, and ‘doeth all things well,’ even if for the moment he hides his hand. We can trust him and rejoice in him, even when we cannot discern his path.”
I went and worked out with Bree last night, and met up with some of the other girls in my class as I did planks and all sorts of things that I’m feeling today. But it was awesome to be able to just run, and run, and not stop until I decided to stop. I’m so grateful for my legs 🙂 and everything else God gave me to make my body function properly (coffee doesn’t count) so that I can run and jump and dance and climb.
I’ll be doing homework and reading and cleaning and such today, keeping up with my reputation as a Saturday dorm hermit 🙂 Bible Study at Sam and Maria’s house starts up again soon, and I’m so excited to be able to spend time with them and with my church people. Next week, my first short story of the semester will be due, but I think I’m ready 🙂 Meanwhile, God is still good, and even though I don’t always understand why He does things, or when He’ll do them, or how He’ll do them, it’s enough for me to trust that He knows what’s best. 🙂
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” —Proverbs 3:5-8