An Offer

“Wanna cut?”

It’s a strange request out of context, but my friend was handing me a roll of VHS tape that we needed to destroy and a pair of scissors.  Either way, it got me thinking about offers.

“Want to come and listen to music in Gary’s room?”

“Tea party at Carrie’s at 9?”

“Want to go see a movie?”
“Want to dance?”

The answer to the last is almost always an, “UM, YES!”  Similarly, the answers to the other questions would be positive ones supposing I had time and energy.  But sometimes you get negative offers.

“Want to watch a scary movie?” Absolutely not.

“Want to go to a Halloween party?” No.

(Maybe next year around this time I’ll write about why I dislike Halloween so much.  But enough mention of it now- basically the answer to scary things is “NO.”)

Anyway, after I realized how weird some of the offers that I’ve gotten have sounded, I thought about the most important offer I’ve received.  The offer of a scholarship and admissions to the school I’m currently attending was pretty life-changing.  I think it’s safe to say that the experience that I’ve gotten at a large research university is different from the one I would have had at a small, rural, Christian school.  If nothing else, the people that I met would be different, and my friends have played such a huge role in my life.  But that’s not it.  Nor was it the offer of the role of Grace in my middle school play, or of a position at an exciting journalism internship, or of a research assistantship in the lab where I’m doing my thesis.

Do I want eternal life and forgiveness of my sins?

Do I want to stop living for myself and start living for God?

Will I pick up my cross and follow Him?

They’re weird offers- ones that are so easily overlooked in the blur of our day-to-day lives.  In our blindness, the appeal isn’t always clear.  The first question reminds me of a passage in C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity: “Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned; the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin.”

What exactly do I need to be forgiven for? we might think.  Well, I know that I’ve messed up.  I know that I contribute to the brokenness of the world, because I’m broken.  So, yes, I want to be forgiven.  I do want perfect, eternal life.  I do want to spend the time that I have here on earth for good, and therefore, for God.

It’s a life-changing offer.  And because it’s an offer that I’ve accepted, its effect on my daily life should be just as evident, if not more so, than the effect of the smaller things- of my agreeing to listen to “In Love with the ‘80s,” a song by what became my favorite band; of going to college; of going to my best friend’s house for that first playdate more than a decade ago.

I pray that the evidence of my response is unmistakably clear, and that its light grows brighter as  I learn more.  And despite the trials that come my way, I’m so grateful and joyful that I had the opportunity to say, “Yes.”

Little Meditations… On Pain

Getting up at 5:50 a.m. for a doctor’s appointment required that sleep take over the time normally allotted for blog writing, so today’s blog is going to be a “Little Meditation.”

I’m normally not a very big fan of taking medicine.  My dad asked me the other day if I had taken any Motrin for some ear pain that I was experiencing, and my immediate response was that No, I only take pain medicine when I’m in so much pain that I cannot function.  Basically, unless I can’t walk, I don’t feel required to take pain medicine.  I was also on antibiotics for my acne for years, so while I understand and appreciate how helpful they can be, I’m not their biggest fan.

Suffice it to say, if I’m happy to be taking some kind of medicine, it’s really saying something about what I was going through.  For example, I was so excited to pick up my antibiotic for a bad infection I had.  I had been so tired of trying to go to bed in so much pain that I’d just be crying.  I was thrilled that healing was coming.

I think it’s the same way with our sin.  We can’t ignore it.  As it says in Romans 8, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved.”

I can’t wait to know that I will never have any infections, that my knee won’t get all creaky when it rains, that I won’t face depression, that I’ll never hurt physically or emotionally EVER AGAIN.  I can’t wait to not have that feeling that something isn’t right, and to not have it because everything is right.

It’s kind of mind-blowing, actually.

And I can’t wait until that’s all taking place because I’m face-to-face with my Savior, who has loved me so incredibly much.

I always say that experiencing physical or emotional pain reminds me of just how broken this world is.  But maybe in this sense, it can remind me just as much of how whole and perfect my God is, and how this “groaning” isn’t just in agony- it’s in expectation of the amazing that is to come.

I Worry. God Tells Me Over and Over to Stop.

God knows me really well.  It makes sense- He made me.

 

Anyway, this week has been really trying and I’m just exhausted and anxious about a lot of different things.  I’ve found it interesting, therefore, that the same passage keeps popping up in completely different, unrelated places.  It’s Isaiah 40, and it’s God telling me over and over to trust Him, and to not fear.  Just to bring it back once more, I’m stealing from one of my finals week messages for this week’s blog.  (I’m taking this big test this weekend and once that’s over, I’ll actually have time to dedicate to writing better original posts!)

 

The truth of our imperfect, broken selves is sandwiched by the truth of God’s perfect strength in this passage.  God won’t grow tired or weary, and He gives us strength, it says before.  Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, we’re told after.  And it’s a powerful strength.  The Isaiah passage doesn’t just say that we’re left stumbling and shaky, just surviving.  It has those who hope in Lord soaring and running.

“Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God’?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. ”

Isaiah 40: 27-31

 

p.s.  I want to say thank you, so much, to all of my friends who have been so incredibly supportive and understanding this week.  You all are such a huge blessing!!

Shush.

Oh dear.  Things are going to be a little bit crazy for this week and next week, and then I’ll hopefully be able to get to a more normal sleeping schedule and a much better job of blogging!

Right now, my most recurring thought is “I don’t know how I’m going to do this.”  It’s getting a little crazy with GRE studying, classes, grad school prep.  So I go through stages of “AAHHHH!!!” followed by “God’s taken care of me before; He’ll do it again,” followed by “AHHHHH!!!” followed by “Trust!”  It’s quite the battle.

It’s at times like this that I just need to hush; to be still and know that He is God.  This post would quickly become more of the AHHH/Trust discussion, simply worded in different ways and perhaps with different numbers of exclamation points.  I’m really good at sitting and worrying, which Jesus very plainly says is of no use.  Because of this, I’m just going to hush today and turn to God’s word.

“May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;

 
   may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. 

May he send you help from the sanctuary
 
   and grant you support from Zion.
 
May he remember all your sacrifices
 
   and accept your burnt offerings.
 
                         Selah



May he give you the desire of your heart
 
   and make all your plans succeed.

We will shout for joy when you are victorious
 
   and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the LORD grant all your requests.

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
 
   he answers him from his holy heaven
 
   with the saving power of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
 
   but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall,
 
   but we rise up and stand firm.

O LORD, save the king!
 
   Answer us when we call!”

– Psalm 20

 

And that’s my prayer.