God does this thing where I’ll be learning about something concerning Him, some concept that clearly needs to be applied to my life, and He gives me, in that moment or the next, an opportunity to either apply the concept, or fall flat on my face.
Well, this morning, I woke up angry. For a while I vented to God, frustrated still from yesterday, and I couldn’t figure out why I was so angry. Then, I realized there might be a chemical imbalance going on that I might need to consider, and the moment I considered that, the anger disappeared and it was much easier to remember the truth of my situation, of my family’s situation, of the situation of Pratt and the world.
One thing I noticed, however, while I was writing to Him, was a lot of statements that went like this: “I can’t handle this,” “This is just too much,” “This can’t happen; I won’t survive, I can’t do it.” And as I wrote, I noticed a pattern. There’s a big vowel in front of each statement that’s causing a problem. “I”.
Well, of course I can’t handle it, whatever it might be, but on whom am I supposed to be depending? Myself? Ah, there we go. God can handle it. I can’t handle that? God can handle that. This is just too much for me? Well, it’s not too much for God. This can’t happen, I can’t do this? This might just happen, but it’s okay, because God can do it, better yet, He can carry me through it on His back. He’s strong enough and confident enough to press on through something horrid and difficult even though I cannot. After all, whatever happens, good or bad, never catches God off guard, never takes Him by surprise, which must mean He has a plan for what happens afterwards. Even my worst-case-scenario-ing that I do so often, God is bigger than all of it, and my fears are nothing He can’t handle.
I prepared my heart before God, as I strive to do every week before I skype with Jacob. And so I began skyping with him, and I started talking to him about my discussion with the security guard the day before, how I felt like jumping into the conversation the way I did was unwise because of how spiritually off I felt and how unprepared I was. And he, as he does, took me to the passage in 2 Timothy, chapter 4 where Paul challenges Timothy in this way:
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (v. 1-2, ESV)
The Amplified Bible says this: “I charge [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom: Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.”
So, with this verse, with this “whether it’s convenient or not,” God both used a past situation to make me reflect on how I should see it, and He also brought about, in the moment Jacob brought me to the Timothy passage, a situation in which I was given the opportunity, yep, to choose to be either “inexhaustible in patience,” or to give into selfishness. And God moved people around and brought things about to put me right at His feet, where I had to remember that He desired me to be patient, desired me to put Him first, before everything. Okay.
My feelings, right now, are not at all in line with a selfless attitude, but the idea of being ready “both in season and out of season” doesn’t imply that my feelings will always cooperate, but it does mean that I should be ready to choose to be selfless when I want to be selfish, that I should be ready to choose to be a listening ear when all I want to do is talk, that I should be ready to choose to be patient when it would make sense to be impatient, that I should be ready to choose to be loving, and act out of love, even when I just don’t feel like it.
A handful of months ago, before spring break, as I’ve mentioned before, I prayed for God to prepare me for whatever future He had planned for me, the future He has planned, mind you, not that I have for myself. And the moment I prayed for that, and when I began praying for it consistently, things became much more difficult, and circumstances everywhere brought out a lot of things I didn’t think I struggled with, and yet, here I am, feeling incredibly sheepish for imagining myself to be so invincible.
Today was my and Taylor’s last day meeting up for lunch, as we’ve done every week for most of the semester now. We both almost cried. This summer is going to be a challenge to both of us, to stay in contact and to continue to challenge each other throughout and prepare for next year. These moments of awesomeness are no longer make or break situations, but they’re steps in growth as women of God and growing daughters of the King, as phases of development in our friendship with each other and our relationship with Christ.
At Bible Study tonight at Sam and Maria’s, I was able to apply, again, God’s ability to handle things when I can’t, and I was reminded of the power of prayer, and of it’s importance. I was challenged again to be quick to listen and slow to speak, to not be run by my feelings and instead depend on God to correct my thinking and help me see situations the way He sees them.
This week has been a bit rocky, but, again, it’s nothing He couldn’t or can’t handle 🙂
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” —1 Corinthians 10:13