Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Choose My Own Way to Burn

The difficulties of life are hard to understand, especially when one is in the thick of them. It isn’t until well after the trouble is done and over that we often find we understand how we have grown. Most of the trials I have faced in my life have been short, the kind someone of my young age face. Within a year, I can look back and see the progress and the change, if I have been graceful enough moving through it. One stands out as excruciatingly long though, in twenty years I may begin to feel relief. Tonight though, my body aches. Yesterday my ribs hurt while I shopped, I struggled to take in painful breaths and not look as though I was leaning heavily on my cart. Sometimes I struggle to understand why God doesn’t take this from me. It would be the simplest of things for Him to send healing tingling through my body. But as of yet, He has not granted me freedom from pain. It desires to make me useless, to make me week, but I cannot let it. I cannot live thinking of the pain, or I know I will not find that I have grown a bit on the other side. Even more, I live for a greater cause than my own comfort, in any form, and many have come before me with far greater challenges. My life is supposed to look like that of the burning bush of Moses. This is better than it being simply a small flickering candle, extinguished by some wayward gust. We all burn for something, what am I spending my life on? What am I burning for? This must be a daily question, and a lifelong one. Our hearts and desires to quickly lead us astray. Our pains and cares often turn us inward to ourselves instead of toward God. What I desire is that the pain of this body lead me to ever longing for more of Him; the creator and perfecter of our faith. If I must run, even in pain may I run well. If I must burn, may I burn big and bright. We are here for the harvest, and work we must.  We must choose our path, for it will not just happen.
This quote struck me today. It is arguably (due to poor sourcing) first spoken by a young woman named Sophie Scholl, who gave her life to be a revolutionary, opposing the Nazi's. She was only 21 when she was murdered for her resistance, but she chose how she wanted to spend her life, however short it would be. Regardless of whether she spoke this, she lived it. How will you burn?
“The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive.' The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.”

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Waves of Doubt - Struggling for Faith

I wanted to write today. I wanted to write something inspiring. Unfortunately, I seem to have found this week more about my weak points than my strong ones. (And I may not be the only one*)Thankfully, it’s my weak spots that give glory to God, because there is no way I could figure this out on my own. One thing I learned with every fiber of my being is that I need more faith. I am the “oh ye of little faith,” I am the one who steps out of the boat and promptly starts drowning. I find something, hear that “come!” jump out, and then doubt whether I even heard the calling at all. There are moments I forget the boat, forget the call, even forget Him, and only see the wind and feel the icy waves clawing me into the depths. Why is the easy way not usually the right way? These last few weeks I heard clearly what I am supposed to do (well, clear in some respects), and at first I jumped right for it. Great! Of course Lord, you know I’m game, I trust you! But soon sneaking doubts, “what if’s,” and questions of the calls legitimacy started crowding in. Suddenly I realized how hard that way would be, what a struggle I just jumped into. The waves crashed… and I looked down. Thankfully, I keep looking back up again in time to grab the hand offered to me by my gracious savior. He keeps reminding me that He has spoken, He does not change, and it is not all about me. What He asks me to work toward, He is working on for HIS glory, not mine. He is completing this good work not as some favor to me (as if I deserve such a thing), but because HE has a plan and purpose and it is good. Well Lord, right now I believe, may I do so tomorrow and every day afterwards. I know this struggle is not in vein, I know He is doing something in me. Doubt is like a plague, it makes you feel awful and it spreads quickly. I don’t want to doubt, God has proven Himself faithful again and again, and this will be no different. If doubt is a plague, then faith and hope are the miracle cure. I need to get out of the boat, forget the boat, forget the wind and waves, and remember nothing but Him and his desire for me.  It’s time to stand.
Phil 1:6 “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

* 1 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.