I sometimes really forget that God’s plan is a lot bigger (a lot bigger) than my mess ups and failures. And when I’m reminded of His power and bigger-ness, I’m so relieved that His plan and His character and His will cannot be changed or thwarted by what seem like failures to me.
“He (God) knows, and foreknows, all things, and his foreknowledge is foreordination; he, therefore, will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man; his kingdom and righteousness will triumph in the end, for neither men nor angels shall be able to thwart him.” —J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Today was a bit rough. Last night I’d gone to sleep exhausted, and I woke up exhausted…I haven’t even done anything yet O.o This is just more support for my theory that once people go to college, they become perpetually tired. That’s gotta be it.
This morning I mostly asked God questions: what’s Your plan for me after Pratt? Can I really lead/facilitate a Bible study? Is anything going to come of it? Has anyone grown because of it? How am I going to get through this year if it’s only the end of the first week?
I talked to Him about all of the feelings (yes, the feels) that I needed to pour out, all of the doubts, the fears, the frustrations, the uncertainties.
The crazy thing is that I’ve asked Him a lot of these questions before, and He’s shown me (save a couple of them) the answers in so many ways—Bree, Teddy, Taylor, and Kat talking to me about how the Bible Study helped them really value God’s word and reading it regularly, even if all of them don’t quite believe it in its entirety; meeting Laura and a few other Christians because of it; and God wouldn’t have put me here if He didn’t intend to see me through.
And then I went to breakfast to meet up with Heather.
I’ve met with Heather before, and her ideas about the Bible and the way she sees God are not very different from mine…and yet, they’re very, very different. The last time we met up, she told me that unless I understood all of the parables and promises of Christ, including the prophecies in Revelation and throughout the OT, then I wasn’t saved…
Anyway, coming back to Pratt, I realized I hadn’t really made an effort to meet up with her again, and I just felt silly for not taking advantage of the fact that there was another Christian lady on campus and we weren’t best friends. But of course, this is a flaw in my thinking: not every Christian lady I meet, not every godly woman of whom I make the acquaintance, is going to be my best friend. Oi.
So, I met up with her in an effort to gain her as a sister, to use her as a support and a challenge in my ministry at Pratt, and to support her in her ministries off campus.
Turns out, as I talked with her, she was not interested in that at all.
The conversation turned a bit sour, and I got hurt, and I felt very wounded afterwards. I started evaluating how I’d handled things, if I’d handled them poorly, fearing that I’d somehow let pride or fear or guarded or something get in the way. And I was just so absolutely confused as to why we both were following Christ, and yet we could not connect for the life of us.
If nothing else came out of this, however, it gave me an opportunity to pour my heart out, again, to God, and for Him to show how much He’s listening by bringing me people to tell me what’s up. Today, it was Jacob and Taylor.
Not every person who claims to be following Christ will be willing to team up, to be there for one another as sisters or brothers in Christ. Not everyone is all for talking about what they’re learning in an effort to say “Hey, what matters to you matters to me, and it’s real, and this God of yours? He’s mine too, and I believe Him. You’re not crazy.” Not every church goer, Bible reader, or Christian guy or gal will be interested in studying with you, challenging you, and supporting and loving you. And you will not always be willing to do the same for other Christians, which, yes, is a bummer, but it seems to be a reality.
After the meeting, I spent time in the Pie Shop, reading my Bible and talking to God some more. Taylor came in and encouraged me before heading to class. I went to French class, and got to speak and focus on speaking a different language for a good hour with a girl from Italy and my roommate. Then I headed to Children’s Book Writing, and struggled with miscommunication with my professor and had to fight defensiveness leftover from the morning. I just felt awful.
Finally, when the day was nearly over, God used Jacob, as He had been for most of the day, to encourage and remind me that I’m not failing, that God is using me, and that even though it seems like I might’ve failed, or just done something stupid, I can’t hinder Him or thwart Him, even if I wanted to. I went and worked out and played basketball for an hour or two before heading back to my dorm to break into some homework.
I’m hesitant and almost embarrassed to write about this, mostly because Bree and a few others have asked me how the Bible can be true if the followers of its Author are so varied in their interpretations and beliefs. Well, I sit here to say that it’s because they’re all human. They all have completely different personalities, different upbringings, different backgrounds, and they all are born with a sin nature that just gets into everything. I’m not saying that the differences in how we read the Bible are a result of sin, but that presence in the world definitely affects things.
And this is not to say that reaching out to people, praying for other Christians especially as a Christian isn’t important. And it’s also not to encourage cynicism, because while, yes, there will always be miscommunications and impasses, Christians still have a God who is the real in a world of fake, Jesus, who is so much more than anyone the world could ever come up with on its own, and His word, which is His chosen way to communicate to us all that He wants, regardless of the flaws of men.
So, I’m sitting here, knowing that, even though it seems like nothing good really came out of my conversation with Heather, even though I’m nervous and uncertain about Bible study on Friday night, God is still using me. He’s still growing me in so many ways, and He’s not upset with me, He still loves me, I’m still precious to Him.
…I think everything’s gonna be okay 🙂