This morning God gave me a glimpse of His purpose, a dose of His humility, and a reason to pray. Allow me to share this with you.
It all starts with my job stuff. As you know if you’ve followed my blog, I’ve felt the Lord pushing me down the path of teaching. However, getting my certification is a near impossibility right now. Long story as to why, but there are some subject-matter tests that are required for secondary education certification and I just can’t jump back into calculus-level math right now without doing some serious preparation. And even then, I’m not sure if it would make sense enough for me to pass the test. I’ve begun applying for some Pharma stuff in the meantime – it could be a few years before I’m able to figure out the teaching thing, and I’m awfully good at sales! Anyway, I’m so confused and I feel very much at a crossroads.
I have the privilege this summer of facilitating Beth Moore’s “Esther” Bible study at my church. This morning I spent a loooong amount of time studying and felt God slamming me in the face with a two-by-four… if He wants me to be a teacher, I’ll be a teacher, dang it! And I hear that, but I’m also so fearful. Although God is taking care of our household, Bronce and I have been frustrated with our financial situation lately. It’s the “not knowing” – I think we’re hitting the point of “fear.” I know that’s straight from Satan to get me to take a job that’s not right for me… and I just don’t know what to do. God’s timeline is not clear to me – teach NOW? (where? how?) or get another job and teach later? I’m praying but I’m also worried. And I know “Prayer” and “Worry” aren’t supposed to go together.
As I began reflecting on the word “worry,” God started speaking some answers into my heart. I just wrote a lengthy card to a girl – sort of a friend-of-a-friend, noone I know very well. To preserve her anonymity, I’ll just say that she’s pregnant and found out the baby has some significant problems. It can’t live outside the womb and will probably not live long in utero either. Yet she’s gone against her doctor’s suggestion and refuses to terminate, trusting the Lord to do what is His will. WOW. I mean, seriously… WOW. I cannot even imagine being in that situation. So since I heard about her situation last week, God’s been LAYING her on my heart. I mean, the kind of “laying on my heart” where it’s pressing in, elbows and feet, and I can’t breathe when I think about what she’s going through.
So today I sat down to write her a card. It’s not much, I know that, but it’s all I know to do. And I’m praying over scripture to give her and God sends me to Matthew 6 – the part about Him taking care of the sparrows. So I’m sitting here, writing this card, meditating over that scripture, and trying to imagine what it would be like to have such a huge and pressing problem – something that must drive her to her knees dozens of times a day – and reading the part of Matthew where it says God cares enough to clothe the grass of the field, yet she’s dealing with this unbearable weight. I can’t even begin to fathom understanding God’s tender care while balancing it with a crisis of that magnitude, yet we’re told just that.
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!…So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:26-30, 34
Fast forward… the card is sealed and I’m sitting at my desk thinking of my own problems. WHAT?! How can I even call my issues “problems” when I know someone dealing with an issue like that? God has such a profound way of humbling us at the height of our personal pride. I read this in my lesson on Esther this morning:
“We tend to detach from sights and situations that make us feel badly about ourselves – especially when we feel powerless… Here’s the trap, however: If we distance ourselves long enough from real needs, we replace them with those that aren’t… The more detached and self-absorbed we become, the more we mistake annoyances for agonies. It happens to all of us.” (p.92)
Now, me being without a job and unsure of my future is surely more than an “annoyance.” But compared to the unimaginable difficulties around me, it’s hardly an “agony.” So in the course of the last two hours, God has turned my wailing into humility. I can have faith that He is doing something amazing with me. I have no idea what it is! But between the two paths I’ve witnessed today, I’ll gladly choose this one. And I won’t stop praying for my friend, because that’s a pain that requires us to petition the gates of heaven on another’s behalf.