Last night, my mom, Gracie, and I had a skype dinner date. They split a NY Strip while I munched on dried fruit and nuts roasted in sunflower seed oil. We laughed a lot 😀
We talked about our lives, caught up on sports—soccer for Gracie, basketball for me—and opened up about struggles, failures, victories, and strengths. We talked about God and His grace, the battles He’s won for us in what seems so little a time. We talked about Jacob, about girls and how God sees them, about ministry, about everything, it seemed.
This morning when I woke up, I was thinking about God’s ability to work things out. And not just “easy” things, like someone’s reaction to a hard question, or a lunch meet-up, or a hard critique, or a deadline, but situations where things are just plain messy, where there’s just no clear path to resolution or a happy ending, where things are at an impasse, just plain stuck.
I sat down at my desk with my Bible open. I just finished the book of Micah this morning, and apart from John and Habakkuk, it has to be one of my favorite books of the Bible. There’s a moment in chapter 6 where God says, “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam” (v. 3-4)
It’s almost like God is saying “I rescued you…I have shown over and over and over again that I love you…does that not matter? Answer Me! I was there in your darkest hour, and here in your lightest you ignore Me. Why?” And my heart aches…I wonder at my darkest hour, at the time in my life when Christ came and rescued me, and I think about what it means, how it matters, what the implications are of Christ doing that for me, and then further to what it means that He’s done that for all humanity…
If God could sort out the mess humanity made of themselves through the sending and sacrifice of His Son, then how much easier it must be for Him to work out the other messes in life? And then there’s this:
“The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand. Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.” (7:5-6)
How much more terrifyingly confusing could things be? How much messier and marked by suspicion and distrust and fear could a time become?
“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” (v. 7-8)
And yet this man of God holds on to the constant of his Savior. So if this prophet could claim the power of the Most High in this confusion, then the confusions, the messes, the hard relationships, the uncertainties of modern day life are certainly no match for the same God.
“For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Cor. 14:33)
For the majority of the day, I did homework. Eventually, I left and grabbed food to come back and do more homework. And then I woke up, not quite remembering when I’d fallen asleep. I changed for basketball, and then prepared to skype with Julie.
Talking things through with Julie was both a blessing and a challenge, and her and Pastor Dan praying over me before I went to practice put my head in the right place as I ran out the door. Heading into the gym, I got pumped, I got ready.
We sprinted. We passed. We shuffled. We sprinted again. And again. And again. Again until my heart beat through my ear drums and it was all I could hear. And I loved it.
We ran up the stairs en mass and into the weight room where we squatted, planked, push-upped, planked, push-upped, squatted, and the like, until our legs burned and our arms were on fire. I couldn’t stop smiling.
We ended with wall-sits and then pop-up “oh my goodness, no” push-ups. On my way out, after we all met up with Coach, I found myself walking next to one player, Anne, and we struck up a conversation on our way back to our dorms.
“Hey, are you the one in the group text who keeps talking about Bible study?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Oh…I kept seeing that and it was like, ‘people still do that?'”
I asked her what she meant, and that led into her talking about her upbringing, about Catholicism, about the church, about the Bible, about her faith.
“Do you talk about anything other than God?” she asked when I’d asked if she’d want to grab lunch some time.
“Yeah.” I grinned. “But conversation isn’t as meaningful without Him. It’s kind of like when you’re in love with someone; you talk about them a lot.”
Anne smiled at me.
We kept talking for a little while longer and then broke off, and I kept grinning. I’ve been praying for opportunities to represent Christ in practice; even though it’s all about basketball, I want people to see me practice, and not see me, but see Christ instead. With this in mind, I’ve been praying for opportunities to get to know each of my teammates one-on-one and reach out to them and challenge them in His way, know where they are, what they think, and love them as He would. They are women who reflect the very essence of God, and He loves them, which means I love them too. And here, He’d given me time and I hadn’t even expected it.
The homework flow seems to be unending, and I continue to strive to balance everything, but He seems to constantly provide time to get everything done that needs to be done, and to do it well. As for the messy situations, He’s got those. He’s got the good things and the bad things, the easy and the hard stuff, the tangled, complicated webs of life that I walk into just insanely confused. He is the constant in a world that is constantly changing. He is the peace in the midst of chaos. He is the sense and the power in the middle of pain and fatigue. And He is able to unravel the tangles, sort out the complications, and bring out a masterpiece.