Yes, ’tis true, midterms are next week…but spring break is two weeks after that! 😀 And you know what that means!!! I get to go home 😀
So, homesickness, I thought, would go away with time, the more time I spent away from home. I’m a grown woman, which obviously means I’m devoid of feeling and no longer miss the people with whom I’ve spent my entire life along with everything with which I’m familiar…I’m still learning that even though I’m growing up, and even though I’m only four hours away from home, it’s really okay that I still miss my family often.
God has blessed me, however, with ample time to spend skyping with them, calling them, and writing to them, even though I’m really busy all the time it seems. Over spring break, I’ll also get the opportunity to spend a few days with the Brocks 😀
So, I ran into the problem a handful of days ago of making my time with God in the morning just something I needed to do in order to keep my mind in the right place. I’d put the focus on just knowing His word instead of knowing Him because He’s, well, Him. Of course, the thought is “Well, isn’t knowing the Bible the equivalent of knowing God?” Nope. There are tons of unsaved scholars who have read the Bible backwards and forwards, people who study religion and have turned it inside out and upside down and they haven’t taken another step in God’s direction, not towards knowing Him.
Just seeking to talk to Him and know Him in light of His word, for me, looks like just sitting, and talking about what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, letting Him in on what hurts me, what I’m fighting against, what I’m struggling with in His word, what I’m worried about, what I don’t understand, how I see Him moving, asking Him if He is moving, and then being reminded that, yes, He is, even though He already knows everything I’m going to say before I say it. I just needed Him.
So that’s what I did.
I didn’t even ask for anything, or really “run things over” with Him. I just talked about how I felt. Then, while I was doing my Bible Study, which is Lord, Teach Me To Pray by Kay Arthur, I felt like I already knew everything about prayer (yeah, I know), but found myself remembering the times when I fell flat on my face because I thought I knew everything. So I prayed that God would give me a heart and mind open to learning, even though I felt like I was all good.
And, of course, I learn something.
The Lord’s Prayer, in Matthew 6:9-13 and then again in Luke 11:1, says this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew)
What I never caught was that the beginning of this prayer as well as the end of it are forms of worshiping God, or acknowledging the truth of who He is. Then, the next day, when I did the next day of Bible Study, Kay Arthur pointed this exact point out and expounded upon it, so my mind was already prepared to learn how to apply it…and it was amazing. I realized that deliberately acknowledging who God is both at the beginning of my prayers and at the end made the way I prayed less about me and what I wanted and what problems I was facing and more about the One to whom I was praying…oh. Prayer, ultimately, just like everything else, is not about me. It’s about God.
Oh! So, the other day, I went to get my mail, and I found a large-ish yellow envelope in my box. I pulled it out and couldn’t figure out what it was at first, but when I opened it and pulled out the message inside, I got it.
I was a telegram.
I mean a telegram, with “stop” instead of periods, printed in all caps, at least double the size of a standard business envelope, and posted from, you guessed it, Jacob 🙂 Jacob sent me a telegram.
The thread that’s been running through my thoughts this week has been “am I glorifying God in class?” Because, especially this semester, I’ve really gotten caught up in the “kindness” of my classmates and spending time with them, and while I’ve really enjoyed spending time with them and better understanding who they are and where they stand with God, I’ve found myself letting them affect and influence me too much, not, of course, to the point where I dishonor God or fall away, but enough that I’m beginning to notice it in my thinking, which is a problem. But God is good in showing me how to not be influenced and affected by them but still love them as He wants me to. So that was a difficult lesson to learn, and I’m still learning it, but I’m just glad I can lean on Him and ask Him to bring things to my attention and have Him come through and help me overcome them.
Even though my professors and classmates are kind, and even though I care about them very much, this is still a war and there is still a threat. My professors and classmates, of course, are not the enemy, but I do need to be aware of the war that’s still going on. Satan hasn’t taken a break just because my classmates are nice, or because my professors like what I write. The enemy hasn’t taken a break just because I get to do Bible study on campus with some of my writing people…but I also have to remember that, even more so, neither has God. God hasn’t taken a break either, and He’s just as powerful, as battle-minded, yet as tender as He has been this entire time. And that’s amazing.
Another thing is the teaching of evolution.
Now, I try not to get into this debate, try not to even dig into it, honestly, because it’s just too easy to get caught up in fighting this battle and wanting to be “the right Christian” in this war of origins, especially when I’m so argumentative by nature. But in Ecology, I’m beginning to see that I have to know what I’m talking about; I really do have to know what evolutionists believe, what I believe, and how the two interact with one another. My professor asks different questions in class, one of which was “can religion and science coexist?” I certainly had an answer, but when talking to him, I realized how rusty I was in this discussion. I had some homework to do.
This upcoming week, next class, we’ll be discussing evolution, Darwinism, natural selection, etc., and he will ask questions, and the most basic question I need to consider is, of course, “how am I going to answer him?” I have to approach it out of gentleness and respect, but still not sugar-coating or softening what God’s word says, nor falling into the trap of cowardice that has drawn so many people back before. My objective is not to start a fight, but to offer an insight that’s fleshed out and challenges what my classmates and my professor think.
Because I believe the Bible is absolute truth, of course I’m biased in the way that I believe that the literal account of creation in Genesis is the true account of how the world came to be. My belief in this will not be shaken by the arguments of evolution. But I should still know what’s going on and how to explain things in a way that makes sense. We’ll see what happens. I will prepare as much as I can and trust that God will do the rest.
Lately I’ve begun to feel the overwhelming weight of having more homework than actual time to do the homework. I have an Ecology project due on Monday plus all of the reading and a quiz to complete, a World Civ. midterm on Tuesday, translating and exercises to do for French, a French midterm in a week or so, two short stories to write, three novels to read, Bible study, and then those things called personal hygiene, eating, and sleeping that I guess are kind of important. My brain is about ready to fall right out of my ear.
But this morning, while I was struggling with the overwhelming-ness of it all, I realized that there was a way to glorify God in doing my homework. There was a way through the sea of books and assignments and tests and studying that brought me back to His feet and pushed me closer to Him, and He’s shown me this before, every time I’ve been overwhelmed by schoolwork. Why would He change now? And that made all of it kind of less overwhelming 🙂
Tonight I went to Bible study. As I prayed while I was riding in the subway, I just felt reassured by the fact that I can talk to God wherever I am, at any time. I stopped in at FoodTown to pick up some things for Maria and then headed to her house. We all had a great time and had great discussions, and I felt both challenged and refreshed by having spent time with other growing Christians.
A lot of Christians, when desiring to talk to someone about Christ, about the God of the Bible, about the Creator of this world, enter the discussion with the intention of being right and evangelizing and then forcibly converting the person they’re talking to. But while we were talking tonight, the general consensus was that nobody’s life was ever changed by an argument, at least no one I’ve met, whether moral (without God, no right and wrong exist; with God, right and wrong do exist), teleological (purpose that is clearly seen in the universe points to evidence of a designer, God), or cosmological (the beginning and cause of everything is God), though these things are important to consider. But what it all comes down to is the absolute truth of the Bible, the desire for the person with whom you’re talking to walk away with a better understanding of who God is and what His word says, and the objective of better learning where they’re coming from and less so of forcing them to believe in a God they deny.
Do I want them to believe? Well, yeah. Why? Because God is truly worth knowing, and He’s the real deal, the One thing that surpasses all other things, the absolute constant that everyone on earth is searching for in life, the only One worth leaning on, trusting, and holding onto. I mean, HE. IS. GOD. I know that might be a cop-out to some, but it’s the world and the Word to me.
So yeah 🙂 God is good. And I honestly never tire of saying that, and it hasn’t yet lost it’s truth, the simple statement of the goodness of God, and yet it cries grace to the world and pours hope into the broken heart.
God is good. 🙂