Today there was an army green letter in the mail for me.
Jacob comes home in less than twenty-five days, and I can honestly say I’m insanely excited 😀 What I’ve learned about relationships in the past few days, or what has been confirmed for me, is that it seems like the running trend in society is to be in a relationship where either person involved is trying to seem like they care the least, or to not be too invested or care too much. As I’ve studied God’s word and talked to other people much older than I, who are also much wiser, I’m seeing that God’s plan and desire for relationships are the exact opposite of the world’s.
Making the choice not to work at BaYouCa this year left me wondering what God would do with my now open schedule. Well, in just the past couple of weeks, He’s brought in skype sessions with Taylor, Bible Study with Jessica (a girl from my high school, who also goes to my church here in the Shire 🙂 ), opportunities to spend time with all of my family, with my church family, and time to spend with Jacob’s family as well, all the while spending time studying God’s word and better understanding Him, growing in Him, and learning how to trust Him. I have never been so full in my entire life.
I say “full” instead of “happy” for a reason. Not every day is sunshine and rainbows, and there are days when I can’t understand why God does what He does, or what His plan is, or how I’m supposed to follow Him here or there. There are days when I, yep, fall flat on my face and miss the mark and lose my cool and say the wrong thing, react the wrong way, ask the wrong question, answer in the wrong tone. There are days when I forget, when I have moments of apathy and uncommittedness. But all of these drive me back to God and His absolute ability to make me stronger in Him, weaker for Him, and more dependent on Him in everything. And with this understanding comes a hope in the truth, in the one true God and all that He says, and a desire to never doubt, question, or misunderstand His intentions, a desire to be more like Him.
At present I find myself reading through Jeremiah, and while my beginnings in this book were discouraging because of just how much wrath God has pent up and prepared for His disobedient children, I then come upon passages like this one:
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.” (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
So, despite the hundreds of years during which Israel has lusted after idols and other gods and other nations and whatnot, after all of their sins and disobedience and disrespect of the Lord their God, God still keeps His promise of giving them the land He promised to Abraham in Genesis.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that God always gives a reason for His wrath, and His anger is actually never impulsive or rash, but provoked, and shown only after His longsuffering and patience has taken its course. The reason for His anger towards His people is always because they’ve disobeyed after He gave them so many opportunities to turn back to Him. He warned them, and gave them chance after chance, until finally enough was enough, and He executed His judgment. Often I hear people say or read articles about how cruel God is, how a God with so much anger couldn’t possibly love as well. First of all, just because God’s character doesn’t fit our human mold doesn’t mean He’s not who He says He is. If He could be easily explained or understood, then He wouldn’t be God. He is outside of human understanding, but He puts enough of Himself inside of it so that we could be reconciled to Him and grow in Him and be with Him forever. Second of all, cruelty is defined as enjoying the pain or distress of others and happily being the one who causes that pain. Another way of looking at cruelty would be unprovoked anger or selfish intentions. But God is not this way, in fact He often grieves over Israel’s sin and lust, deeply mourning the fact that He must be just with them. Those who claim He is cruel and rash and impulsive without first reading His word and reading it good are putting themselves in a dangerous spot…it seems that the less someone knows about God, the more inclined they are to reject Him. Just a thought.
And then there’s this echo of Psalm 1:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
I find myself wanting to be this tree, where I’m so founded in Christ and in God’s word and character that I do not fear the things that “ought” to be feared, the times when things are harsh and uncertain, when it would “make sense” to be anxious or worried. I find myself pressing on with Him out of a desire to be so completely certain in His ability to provide, in His ability to orchestrate events, in His ownership of and power over all resources, that my default reaction is to trust Him and trust Him with everything I have, as well as with everything that I don’t have.
Matthew, Jacob’s best friend, is now dating Hannah, my best friend and Jacob’s sister, and I must admit that it all feels a bit like a Jane Austen novel 😀 I have been insanely blessed by these two, and I can only imagine what God is going to do in them 🙂
Meanwhile, I continue to learn how to walk in patience, continue to face the challenges of ministry, and I continue to enjoy the challenges of trusting in God and seeing Him come through when I have nothing left to give, when I feel like there’s nothing more I can do, or when I’m depending on myself and He brings me back to the understanding that He’s much more capable than I am. I continue to learn how to pray, how to love, how to invest in others and push them towards Him. And the battle goes on as the enemy opposes, and victory, sweet victory, continues to be the ground upon which I stand.
“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues people under me.” —Psalm 144:1-2, ESV