Tuesday, May 26, 2009


It's been a while. No apologies, though. I've decided to stop feeling guilty about how much I'm not writing and to simply enjoy writing when I am in the mood. And right now, I'm in the mood.

You might be surprised to find a recent college graduate (praise God!) up at midnight tapping away at the keys of his laptop, pondering his life in front of the whole world. Doesn't work call early? you ask. Funny you should bring that up. It doesn't, because my only job right now is finding a job. Well, that's not perfectly true, either. I have a couple jobs. First is chasing Christ wholeheartedly. Always that, always first, always most. Second is building my relationships with others in a way that reflects Him - with Jaimie, with my family and hers, with friends at Wildwood, and soon with neighbors. Third is finding a job. Interestingly, I've been recognizing even more of late just how deeply tied all the other tasks of my day rely fundamentally on my walk with God. Do I put Him above all else, or do I put everything else first?

"Pray then like 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."

Prayer. It's a funny thing. God answers every single prayer we pray. People usually think God doesn't answer their prayers. That's silly. The real problem is that people expect that they're praying the right things -- that what they want is in accord with their Father's will just because it's what they want. In other words, they expect God to say yes, and if He doesn't say yes, then He hasn't answered. Which is, of course, nonsense, but rather attractive nonsense to our sinful nature. We wouldn't usually put it in those words, but it's how we operate. It is, thankfully, not how He operates: for our good and His glory, He often says no.

Oftentimes it's not difficult to see why, looking back. I look at the young women I was interested before I met Jaimie, look back and her, and thank God from the depths of my heart that He always said no before her. I ached from His noes at the time, struggling to see a reason for them, fighting to believe that His plans really were better than mine. They were, of course. They always are. Even when, unlike my example above, it's harder to see -- as it often is. Some things we may never have an answer for: God's reasons may remain ever mysterious. Are we okay with that? Are we okay waiting to see the final fulfillment of His promises, and to rest in the assurance that what He does is good?

For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create...

They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord."

A good deal of relationship is trust: trust that the other party in the relationship will be good on their word. Whether that's a business arrangement or a marriage, it's still true. There's more than an intellectual assent to the idea that the other person will uphold their side of things. Trust is as much a deep emotional commitment as it is intellectual assent, because when you trust someone with anything, you bare your soul a little bit. You leave yourself open to being hurt, betrayed, left hanging by your fingernails at the edge of a chasm.

And all the more so when it's life itself you're trusting, and God you're being called to trust it to. Faith is so easy: it's not of us, a gift of God given freely, and a good thing, too. Because faith is hard - impossibly hard, harder than any of us could ever manage. The dead infant, the slow creep of dementia, the blow of a stroke at 45. We ask why, cry out to a God we think isn't there, and get no answer. No answer we want, that is.

He does answer, of course. He tells us that it is for our good and His glory, that all things work according to His purposes.

So we come full circle. I'm looking for a job. Not finding one, either. Though I've been looking since August, looking hard since November, I've had only one interview, and it went nowhere in a hurry. I'm marrying in 53 days. I have bills to pay: rent, utilities, a car payment, and -- very soon -- a few student loans. The questions rise. Will God provide? Will He take care of me? Will He take care of us? Will the bills get paid? Will we have food to eat? When will it happen? Why is it taking so long? Why are all my efforts seemingly in vain?

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The real question? It's whether we believe Him. He's already answered.

Do I put Him first? Do I seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, trusting Him? Do I, no matter the circumstances, rest in the Truth that took on flesh, or do I flail about in a panic, relying on my own strength to accomplish these tasks?

Every task I am set is ultimately answered only in Christ. He provides, not me. He takes care of Jaimie, not me. He sets the course of my days, and no other.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.


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