I'm sitting here at work on a Saturday, wishing I was somewhere else...preferrably laying on my couch, wrapped up in a blanket, watching a movie or reading a book, and loving on my puppy dog. But, such isn't the case. I'm here and feeling like I could fall asleep, even though there's plenty to keep me occupied. So I thought I'd take a little Coke break and write a bit of what's been on my mind the past few days.
As a final assignment in my theology class, we were asked to right a 3-page paper on the Scripture passages Dr. Ware asked us to meditate on this last half of the semester. Since we went from the doctrine of Scripture into the doctrine of God, the two passages were Psalm 145 and Isaiah 40. I have found myself increasingly humbled, speechless, amazed by the Lord this semester, and it was no accident that these were the passages I was asked to spend time reflecting upon. In this reflection paper, I talked about the trip to Texas for Thanksgiving which is quickly approaching. I wasn't exactly expecting to write about what I did, but it was apparent that something very specific was heavy on my heart and flowed out of me as soon as I began typing.
"As Thanksgiving has so quickly approached, I have grown increasingly anxious to see my family. My relation to certain family members is one of the primary areas of my life in which I am left without words as to how I should pray. The common insinuation among certain individuals is that I am arrogant and “all-knowing” simply because I have focused my studies in the areas of theology and ministry. I have “all the answers” and no one is allowed to disagree because I know everything about everything...the Lord has graciously opened up many opportunities in recent years for us to have loving conversation about Him and His work. Just last year around Thanksgiving...One afternoon my mom received a phone call from my great aunt telling her that my second cousin had attempted to end his own life... Such an event clearly led our family into a whirlwind of confusion and chaos...but in the midst of the pain, my great aunt has peace. She has peace because the Lord is faithful. Through ceaseless prayer and crying out, “God, why? Why did this happen to my son?” He showed her that He is sovereign and He is sufficient...I bring all of this to light because such a transformation is not even understood or grasped by some in my family. The Lord ordained an event through which He wooed my aunt to Himself, and I now share such a sweet bond of fellowship with her, even though this all took place shortly before my move. We both come to a text and lay hold of the truth:
--Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD,
or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding? (Is 40:12-14)--
When I speak of God’s sovereignty, of His grace, I would not say that I am faced with mere ridicule. There is a deeper sense of contempt with the way in which I converse about the Lord, or the popular one is that I am still young and have yet to experience “real life,” thus making me still very naïve and idealistic in my view of God and the world. Such common feelings invade my mind each time I get closer to seeing them again, wondering what the holidays will have in store. There are so many ways in which I am distant from them, and even though such are manifested as practical differences, I know that the root is in relation to the Lord. Many in my family claim knowledge of God, but I am often left in wonder as to whether or not they truly know Him. Above and beyond anyone’s opinion, I am fully aware of the truth that I am a prideful and sinful creature. As stated previously, I often feel distanced from my family. Although I know why, the truth of the matter still makes me sad at times. I am saddened that I do not hold a common faith, even when some may claim otherwise...I constantly pray when around them that the Lord will show Himself through me and that any selfish intentions of mine will fade away. I know that I am selfish, and because of that I know that my disagreements may have such motives, but I desire that the Lord be glorified when I am in their midst...The last thing I want is for my family to be like me, to imitate me. I desire that they know Him, and may He be gracious in using my frail, sinful self as an instrument for His glory."
Some of those feelings have been constant as far back as I can remember, but are altered somewhat as I grow older. There have been years when I've been angry, when I've been frustrated by not understanding, years when I've felt very lonely and isolated, but this year is somewhat different. How can I not be thankful for my family when the Lord has clearly used my relationships with them to grow and refine my dependence on Him?? I love them dearly, and with that love comes great burden. I am insufficient, and only He can intercede and work through my weakness. Only He can move mountains...