Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm not so sure this makes sense, but I will try to explain what I'm processing.

Yesterday I met Mom in Durham to watch a movie called Waiting for Superman. The documentary about the public school system began with a man talking about how when he was little his mom told him that Superman wasn't real. He said that he wasn't disappointed because like Santa Claus, Superman wasn't real but because it meant no one was coming to save them.

How heartbreaking. And how applicable.

I've been reading the book of Exodus lately. Here was a group of people living like no one was coming to save them. It seemed as though they were forgotten. Little did they know, God was training a leader out in the desert, with the sheep. Here's where I struggle: God brings Moses back to Egypt to save his people but he doesn't just have pharaoh release the Israelites the first time. They have to wait. They have to make bricks with straw and watch as God hardens pharaohs heart over and over. The people wonder if Moses lied to them so Moses goes to God saying "You have not rescued your people at all." More often than not, it seems that we are waiting on God. If you're like me, you wonder why. You wonder what God is doing, or what he's waiting for. We know that he has called us to be his people and that he has promised to provide and that he says he loves us. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that God must have other things he's worrying about. More important things like genocides, for example, than small Emily in Greensboro. But if God cannot care for me now, if he is not giving me what is best for me now, than he is not all powerful, nor is he good. (Of course there is the discrepancy of what I think is good, and what he thinks is good.) God tells Moses that he is doing things his way because he wants them to have no doubt in their minds that he is the LORD who has redeemed them (Exodus 6). But Exodus goes on to say, "So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage."

Have I given up on a Savior? Have I decided that because life is hard and full of struggles that God is not good and working?

Today (and the day after, and the day after, and the day after)I choose to believe that hope has come, and that when I stand looking back over the red sea of life, I will know that the LORD is almighty, that he hears what I say to him, that he will bring me safely to himself some day. I think it is a conscious decision to not get swept up with idols that seem to promise safety, but instead to believe in an Infinite that is true.

Exodus 14:13-14 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

currently listening to: Guster, Satellite

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dear God,

Please take my insecurities. Please replace them with the love of God.
One cannot have both compassion and innocence. - Eugenia W. Collier

Monday, October 25, 2010

People ask me how I like teaching. Honestly it depends on the day. People ask me if it's gotten easier. I don't think it has. Somehow, I am still convinced that it is the profession that God wants me to be in. The other day I was really struggling. Things continue to happen that break my heart. One of my students who had dropped out came to see me on Thursday. He walked into my classroom and I teared up. I'm not even sure why, other than that it's hard to see a kid that you've been pulling and rooting for give up. As my day ended I was reflecting on this and other failures when God's still, small voice came under my thoughts: You did not fail. I've only asked you to love them for as long as they are in your life. It's not up to you to save them.

This reminded me of something a wise friend said to me last year: You worry about your students because you do not trust that God holds them in the palm of his hand.

It's so hard for me to hold people in my hands loosely. To praise God for the time I have with them, and to be willing to give them up when God brings them elsewhere. It's something that God has been encouraging me in for years, and that I think he will be for years to come.

"What is possible is to open your hands without fear, so that the One who loves you can blow your sins away. Then the coins you considered indispensable for your life prove to be little more than light dust which a soft breeze will whirl away, leaving only a grin or a chuckle behind." - Nouwen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Excerpt from "Create Dangerously"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Excerpt from My Utmost for His Highest, October 13

. . . when Moses was grown . . . he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens —Exodus 2:11

Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After he launched his first strike for God and for what was right, God allowed Moses to be driven into empty discouragement, sending him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared to Moses and said to him, ” ’. . . bring My people . . . out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ’Who am I that I should go . . . ?’ ” (Exodus 3:10-11). In the beginning Moses had realized that he was the one to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in his individual perspective, but he was not the person for the work until he had learned true fellowship and oneness with God.

We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and yet when we start to do it, there comes to us something equivalent to Moses’ forty years in the wilderness. It’s as if God had ignored the entire thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged, God comes back and revives His call to us. And then we begin to tremble and say, “Who am I that I should go . . . ?” We must learn that God’s great stride is summed up in these words— “I AM WHO I AM . . . has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). We must also learn that our individual effort for God shows nothing but disrespect for Him— our individuality is to be rendered radiant through a personal relationship with God, so that He may be “well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). We are focused on the right individual perspective of things; we have the vision and can say, “I know this is what God wants me to do.” But we have not yet learned to get into God’s stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I guess I'll just hang on to this.

Revelation 21:1-5

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."