The more time I spend growing in God, the more I learn about who He is, and the more I learn about who He is, the more I realize just how little I really understand about Him.
The battle is on, as always, and today it was particularly heavy for different reasons, and I felt myself overwhelmed, completely, entirely, by lies and difficulties and I just wanted to curl up into a ball and give up. But God is bigger than that. I kept reminding myself that what I’m struggling with, there is some Christian, somewhere, who’s struggling with the same thing.
After French class and before Ecology, I went to the mail and picked up a package. I found it to be a Bible Study written by Kay Arthur. I’ll take this as God using my mom, who’s the one who sent it to me, to remind me that I’m loved, that I’m okay, and that everything is going to be fine.
Sometimes I think I’m being over dramatic or overemotional when it comes to this lovely little struggle of mine, which is really not little or lovely at all, but then I realize that, even though it might not be a battle for other people, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a battle for me, doesn’t nullify the way it knocks me down, or the way God uses His picking me up to bring me closer to Him.
I headed to the cafeteria, grabbed some hot soup and chocolate-covered almonds and sat in my normal spot. I’ve been doing my Bible Study, save my time with God in the morning and late at night, in the cafeteria and the Pie Shop lately. Today I was wondering why. Thoughts like “no one is going to just walk up and talk to me simply because my Bible is open,” “most people probably don’t even care that I have a Bible,” “this is so ridiculous…why can’t I do this in my dorm room?” crept into my thinking. But I stayed there anyway, deciding it didn’t matter if anyone talked to me about what I was reading, mostly because I wasn’t reading or studying my Bible for them, but to further understand the One who wrote it.
Today, as I ate my soup, I was studying what Genesis says about God’s character. I’m using Knowing God by J.I. Packer as a sort of guideline to study and outline the character traits of God, mostly to have a starting point on Friday when I meet up with my classmates again, but virtually to deepen my understanding of who He is, because, again, I’m realizing how very little I know.
“Um, excuse me.”
I turned to see a girl standing over me.
“Are you Catholic or Christian?”
“Oh, I’m Christian.”
And that’s how it happened 🙂
Heather is from South Korea, and she’s been going to Pratt longer than I have, and she just walked up to me because she saw me reading Bible.
Hunter: 0 God: 1
She came and sat with me and we exchanged testimonies and talked about how God had been working in our lives. She kept telling me it was so weird to see someone reading a Bible. She then saw my scripture flashcards stacked in front of me and began leafing through them, finding her favorites and practically overflowing with excitement. We kept talking and both of us were so absolutely excited that this happened. I got to tell her about my meeting with my classmates. She told me about Bible Study classes she’s been going to in Manhattan where she learns to better read her Bible and answer hard questions that she has while she’s reading. We kept talking, eventually exchanging numbers and planning to meet later in the week 🙂
I had to check the time on my iPod and a picture of Jacob and I was on the screen. She asked if that was my boyfriend. I smiled and said yes, telling her that he was actually stationed in South Korea and had a ministry there. She was excited about that too 🙂 So was I 🙂
Eventually I went to Ecology, and during the first half of the class I listened to talk of evolution and how things changed over time, along with the environment and how different organisms interact with one another and how humanity interacts with those same organisms and their environments. Evolution is one of those beasts I think Christians sometimes become too worked up over. Yes, I know it’s denying the truth of the biblical creation account. No, I’m not saying evolution is true. But I am saying that arguments concerning this don’t often end well, usually with the Christian feeling high and mighty and the evolutionist feeling scorned or just plain annoyed, or the other way around. In the end, neither has gained any ground with the other relationally and there’s a bigger gap between them than when they started. Yes, we should discuss these kinds of things, sure. But we need to remember what’s at the core of our beliefs. It’s not being right, or proving that God created the world, but showing with our lives and our zeal for His will that He is God, and all that that entails. Then, through that, that He created the world. Just a thought.
Even thinking this, however, I feel somewhat uncomfortable in secular science classes, just because my biblical worldview is being scraped against by the theory of evolution, which doesn’t necessarily mean the world is ending and I’m failing spiritually; it just means that God’s word is still absolute truth, and that there are things in the world that say otherwise. Knowing the Creation Mandate (Genesis 1:28-29) helps a lot, especially in Ecology since it’s mostly about protecting the environment and exercising no small amount of power and responsibility when it comes to taking care of the earth. What I’ve found is this:
Creation Mandate: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit” (Genesis 1:28-29)
dominion (n.): 1) ruling or controlling power; ruling power, authority, or control
2) somebody’s area of influence or control; sphere of influence
responsibility (n.): 1) ACCOUNTABILITY
2) authority to act or make decisions independently
3) the quality of being dependable
responsible (adj.): 1) getting the credit or blame for one’s acts or decisions
3) taking charge of or being entrusted with things of importance.
Environmentalism (n.): the movement, especially in politics and consumer affairs, that works toward protecting the natural world from harmful human activities.
I included the words “responsible” and “responsibility” because with God giving us dominion over the earth I believe He also gave us a responsibility to take care of it, to be a good steward of what He’s given us. Does this mean flora and fauna are on the same level as humans? No. Does this mean humans are animals too? No. Does this mean I’m a learned scientist? DEFINITELY NOT. But I can work a dictionary 🙂
After Ecology, I went back to my room and talked to God for a while, just being broken before Him because I was so tired of everything in my head and in my heart. There was too much, and I knew He could handle all of it, even if I didn’t feel that way at the time.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 3:6-7)
I eventually, after checking something on campus for my mom, resolved to go for a run. At the gym I had enough emotional energy to run five miles, and then I stopped only because my feet began to hurt. I went and grabbed dinner, came back to the dorm, and sat and talked to Bree for a while.
I find it weird that God uses unbelievers to bring our attention back to Him. Maybe weird is the wrong word…awesomely creative would be better. Bree sat and listened to me as I talked, and when I was done, she asked me if I still had my verses on fear, and suggested I take a look at those again, and she also told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. And I didn’t even hear her; I heard God telling me that I needed to just stop being so afraid, stop thinking I was so helpless, stop believing, even for a second, that He can’t do this for me, can’t win this war for me, that He’s just not enough, and remember who in the world I am. I am a daughter of the King, and I fear no one and nothing. So why on earth am I acting like someone I’m just not?
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to Christ.” —2 Corinthians 10:5
And so here I am, standing up after taking a hard blow, recovering after a bout of fighting, and I’ll wake up tomorrow, Sword in hand, Commander in front, ready to do it again.
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
—2 Corinthians 12:9-10