i’ve been reflecting a lot. that’s what you have time to do in the middle of nowhere–to sit back, and to reflect, and think. it wasn’t a good thing, back over thanksgiving. i thought, and the more i thought, the more sad i became. it resulted in an incredibly depressing blog, my desire to rush back to birmingham and back to life there, and in general being unhappy being home. which isn’t what i wanted. i had missed my family, and my mom, and my house. but there again, because of my feelings and emotions and thinking, i got a little carried away.
it ended up being a good thing. i was down in the dumps and in a miserable state for my first week back in birmingham. i missed friends. i had to preach for my preaching class. i had exams, and papers, and life was crazy. christmas shopping wasn’t getting done. and i was dreading having my wisdom teeth removed.
i’m not the kid who goes to chapel at beeson religiously, but i haven’t missed a lot this semester because we’ve been discussing John, and it’s been great. so, i went to the last chapel of the semester, even though i had a million other things to do. and literally, i feel like it changed…me. or maybe, instead, my perspective.
jonathan haefs talked about the resurrection; about looking but not seeing, and not understanding, and not living life in light of the resurrection. at least, these are the important and tangible points i can take away from the sermon. and during communion, kyle played “death in his grave,” by john mark mcmillan, one of my favorite songs on his album the medicine.
and i thought a lot about sin. i thought about my own sin. i thought about the sins of my father figures. and the terrible and horrible and overwhelming effects of those sins.
[and those are just in my own heart.]
and i thought about the resurrection, and the “already, not yet,” and i thought about the intellectual hope that i have in the Lord, that he has the power to wipe away every tear at the resurrection, and to make me whole, and to make everything sad come untrue. and then i thought about the already. that he’s already defeated sin, and death, and that he holds the keys to oppression.
i have to be honest and tell you that i don’t have it all figured out. in fact, i don’t have a lot of it figured out. i don’t know how evil things happen in a world where God is good. i know terrible things happened in my family, and that God allowed those to happen. and yet i know that he is good. i trust that he is good. i trust that he has a purpose and a plan, and that he brings healing, and restoration, and forgiveness, and wholeness–in the not yet, but also in the already–and that he also will use all of this, for something, for his glory.
and i trust that all the things that happened were for my ultimate good. that the gospel would be made known in my life, and the life of others. that i would learn the true depths of Christ forgiving me as i struggle to forgive others. and that these things, for good or for worse, have made me who i am. and that is a person who is beautiful and who is loved, even when i fail. even when i don’t meet the mark. even when i’m unloveable. even when i have a chipmunk face and am completely out of it, on lortab, and totally gross post-wisdom tooth removal.
i want to live in that hope. i don’t want to live under the shackles of someone else’s sins. i don’t want to walk in doubt and fear and distrust, because my God is so good. he calls me to lay down my dreams in his name. he’s hope. he’s beautiful.
these are the things i remember as i reflect. next week, i might be very sad and very lost in my own story, and feel very small and very insignificant and very afraid. this is the scary thing about trusting feelings. so i’m going to try not to trust those, and instead to trust what i know to be true, and real, and here, and now. help me to remember all of these. repeat these words back to me in the moments that i forget.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole beingt rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. —psalm 16