Thursday, March 31, 2005

help us, our God

March 31, 2005. Today is one I pray will not be too quickly forgotten, but one that will remain in the hearts of the people who dwell in this nation. Terri Schiavo passed away this morning after a battle that literally has our country split down the middle. Fox News had a poll up today that showed 54% of the people supporting the removal of the feeding tube as an act of mercy on Terri's behalf. This situation leaves far too many open-ended questions for me to hope that the battle stops here now that she has passed away. There are pertinent issues leading up to her condition over the past fifteen years that remain a mystery, even when certain sources claim they know "what Terri would've wanted." There is speculation over the desired privacy coming from her husband that is a wonder, raising suspicion as to why he wouldn't want her own family in the hospice room while she was deteriorating and then, ultimately, at the time of her death. There are countless questions to be considered and that need answers in order for this case to come to rest. I pray that those seeking the truth will not stop fighting, but will continue demanding the truth in which only true freedom can be found...

I came across an interesting correllation today that seems worthy of mention in discussing the battle over Terri Schiavo: Pope John Paul II. As America has watched Terri die a slow and horrific death over the past 13 days due to have her feeding tube removed, the Pope has had his fair share of health problems with the final results still pending. While the courts have ordered Terri's feeding tube to be removed, and the families' pleas to have it reinserted have been turned down, Pope John Paul II has not only had a tracheaotomy in recent weeks, but he now has a nasal feeding tube in hopes of aiding in recovery. I am not bringing this up to state any type of speculations, but this is just an example of the Terri Schiavo case setting some sort of precedent for the field of medicine in the days and years to come.
"Dr. Barbara Paris, director of geriatrics at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, said the tube may be just a temporary measure to boost John Paul's nutrition while he continues his recovery. But she said it could also be the first step toward having a more permanent feeding tube inserted directly into his stomach.
That procedure, known as PEG — percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy
— involves making an incision in the abdomen so a tube can be passed directly into the stomach." (,2933,151886,00.html)

As countless Americans can attest, I will never forget the events of September 11, 2001. I've heard those from my parents' generation and up say they will never forget exactly where they were at and the events of the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Similarly, many of us can remember 9/11 in such a way. Remembering where you were at when you heard the news, blurred feelings of confusion, helplessness, and the list continues. It was also the night of the week when Grace Bible Study was held, the college Bible study that has been held in Abilene since the 90s. Grace still took place, and I remember the atmosphere being...heavy. I bring this up because one of the songs we sang that night is one that has been resounding in my head throughout the course of the day. And at this point, it is the only prayer my heart and mouth can utter:
Help us, our God, help us, our Savior
For the glory of Your name, for the glory of Your kingdom
Deliver us, and atone for our sins
Deliver us, and forgive all our sins
Help us, our God, we come to You desperately needy
Help us, our God, may Your mercy come quickly to meet us
Help us, our God, help us, our God,
Help us, our God, for Your namesake
Help us, our God

Lord, come quickly, and Lord, forgive us all...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

the purpose behind the pursuit

A conversation just ended between myself and a former peer. We attended the same university, were in over half the same classes, had the same major and emphasis, and there was a day that has long since passed when we were very similar. I began my undergraduate work as an independent woman, ready to face the world and stand with my head held high as a confident career woman. I was one devoted to academia, diving into books and acquiring knowledge like a kid in a candy store. Not only was I a good school student, but I could spout of Scripture left and right for anyone asking for a reference. Does this all sound good so far? Maybe so, but here's the dilemma when I read over what I've just written and think back on such
All that is necessary is to look over past assignments and journals I devoted all my energy and life to and you can see a pretty good picture of idolatry. Such a word may cause some to squirm in their seats and maybe such uneasiness is good. Please don't hear me saying that books and writing in personal journals are bad things. I am one with a disposition for such outlets, and such are gifts from the Lord. But when the focus, the purpose, is not the very Giver of such gifts, we run into a serious problem. We work and study and work and seek and work and work and work and work...
"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep." ~Psalm 127:1-2
So the question I had to answer was not in regards to how I was holding up in my classes, but how my self-motivation was surviving. Such striving eats away at your very soul, and in such striving there is no life to be found. I can read renowned and well-loved authors all day only to lie awake in the dark of the night, staring at the ceiling, wondering why I feel so empty. I can proudly quote a Scripture reference for every issue you throw my way, but let's take a glimpse at Scripture itself for revelling in such knowledge of the text.
"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life." ~John 5:39-40
I am not saying that such idolatry is not still a very real struggle. As a matter of fact, the word "sponge" was referenced by the one person who probably knows me best regarding such struggle just this past week. Yes, sponge...that which is absorbed stays until it is squeezed so hard, there's nothing left to do but for everything to be released. I acquire all these things and instead of bringing forth joy and life, everything eventually comes to a head and I find myself sitting in utter exhaustion.
I want to be a good student and writer, yet He's telling me to be still. I want I want, I want...and my wants are so loud that I eventually lose my voice. This is when it becomes blatantly clear that I have put myself before Him, and that which I don't want to do I've inevitable done (Romans 7).
My confession is admitting that I do not continually seek Him above all things. In the light of His glory and grace, all achievements and striving are petty and lifeless. I am quickly approaching the transition from post-undergraduate to actually pursuing my masters degree. The Lord has already brought me to a place drastically different than where I was at during college. My prayer is that He be glorified in every detail of every assignment, in each paragraph I read. May I only dive into the academic world again so that I may continue drinking deeply from the fountain of grace. May He alone grant wisdom and understanding, as such can only come from Him.