Sep 27, 2003

Where is he?

Searching. Wondering. Waiting. Where is he? Is he here already and I just don't see him? Or is he somewhere else still? Who knows. I sure don't; I have no idea. I wish I knew. But am I supposed to know? Obviously not, because I don't. Can he see me? I don't really think so. I think we'll see each other at the same time. But what if he can? What if he can see me and I just can't see him? Is that possible? Hmmm. At any rate, the waiting sure is getting hard. Or boring. Hard and boring, I think. Is he waiting like I am? I mean, is it hard and boring for him, too? Or is he so preoccupied with everything else that he doesn't even realize the wait? Like the doctor's office. All it takes is a really intriguing magazine article and the wait is insignificant. But what to do when there's no magazines? A hard, boring wait. You become consumed with the fact that you're waiting. I'm consumed. I shouldn't be. I have plenty of magazines. But I guess it's like waiting to find out if you've got cancer. The magazines are of no help then. I'm not waiting for bad news, though. I have no reason to be anxious. Yet at times the anticipation is excruciating. Why is the smell of brownies baking so tormenting? Yeah, that's how it is. Like brownies. I know -- I know for sure -- they're going to taste incredible, but the wait is so hard. And I can't focus on how interesting the magazine is because the smell is there distracting me. So I am consumed with the fact that I am waiting. Searching. Wondering. Waiting.

Sep 26, 2003

Another quote from Martens. This one's for you, Laci.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. (Rainer Maria Rilke -- "Letters to a Young Poet")

The following was a post from L.Martens at Wander, Worshipper, Lover of Leaving. I really like it.

Cutting the Strings

"Let us return once more to the image of the puppet theatre that our argument conjured up before. We see the puppets dancing on their miniature stage, moving up and down as the strings pull them around, following the prescribed course of their various little parts. We learn to understand the logic of this theatre and we find ourselves in its motions. We locate ourselves in society and thus recognize our own position as we hang from its subtle strings. For a moment we see ourselves as puppets indeed. But then we grasp a decisive difference between the puppet theatre and our own drama. Unlike the puppets, we have the possibility of stopping in our movements, looking up and perceiving the machinery by which we have been moved. In this act lies the first step towards freedom." (Peter L Berger)

Sep 25, 2003

I must be going crazy...

...because I just sat down and read all of Book 1 (which means chapter 1) of Plato's Republic in one sitting, AND I ENJOYED IT! Socrates is incredible! PRAISE GOD I'm done with the Pre-Socratic book that we had to read because it was as dry as could be. I have nothing to talk about today, so I'll stop rather than ramble. Later.

Sep 22, 2003

Everything happens for a reason...

...which is what I truly believe. I'm several days behind on my Bible reading, according to the schedule I'm trying to follow. This afternoon, however, it seemed that God had a reason for me to be "behind." Today I sat down to read Habakkuk, which I "should" have read on Friday. The following is the intro to the book from The Message, which I thought really applied to Laura's comment on the previous post. But maybe that's just me. Who knows. Hopefully this will mean something to somebody though!

Living by faith is a bewildering venture. We rarely know what's coming next, and not many things turn out the way we anticipate. It is natural to assume that since I am God's chosen and beloved, I will get favorable treatment from the God who favors me so extravagantly. It is not unreasonable to expect that from the time that I become his follower, I will be exempt from dead ends, muddy detours, and cruel treatment from the travelers I meet daily who are walking the other direction. That God-followers don't get preferential treatment in life always comes as a surprise. But it's also a surprise to find that there are a few men and women within the Bible who show up alongside us at such moments.
The prophet Habakkuk is one of them, and a most welcome companion he is. Most prophets, most of the time, speak God's Word
to us. They are preachers calling us to listen to God's words of judgment and salvation, confrontation and comfort. They face us with God as he is, not as we imagine him to be. Most prophets are in-your-face assertive, not given to tact, not diplomatic, as they insist that we pay attention to God. But Habakkuk speaks our word to God. He gives voice to our bewilderment, articulates our puzzled attempts to make sense of things, faces God with our disappointment with God. He insists that God pay attention to us, and he insists with a prophet's characteristic no-nonsense bluntness.
The circumstance that aroused Habakkuk took place in the seventh century B.C. The prophet realized that God was going to use the godless military machine of Babylon to bring God's judgment on God's own people--using a godless nation to punish a godly nation! It didn't make sense, and Habakkuk was quick and bold to say so. He dared to voice his feelings that God didn't know his own God business. Not a day has passed since then that one of us hasn't picked up and repeated Habakkuk's bafflement: "God, you don't seem to make sense!"
But this prophet companion who stands at our side does something even more important: He waits and he listens. It is in his waiting and listening--which then turns into praying--that he found himself inhabiting the large world of God's sovereignty. Only there did he eventually realize that the believing-in-God life, the steady trusting-in-God life, is the full life, the only real life. Habakkuk started out exactly where we start out with our puzzled complaints and God-accusations, but he didn't stay there. He ended up in a world, along with us, where every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Two short passages--maybe three--from Habakkuk:
(without verse numbers, because they aren't marked in The Message)

God has perfect timing (from chapter 2): "If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. It will come right on time."

A godly life is the one worth living (from chapter 2): "But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive."

(end of chapter 3): "Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God's rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain!"

Sep 21, 2003

He hath made me glad...

I'm so glad for Christian friends. Friends who care about the same kind of stuff I do. Friends who love God. Friends who realize there's more to life than just doing what feels good. I'm glad for a super-cool room mate Laci; I'm glad for way-cool suitemates, Krissy and Erica; I'm glad for a lifelong best friend Allie. I'm glad for friends here at school, at Anastasia, at Westside. I'm glad for long-term friendships, short-term friendships, reconciled friendships, developing friendships. God's so cool. He made us with a need for companions and friends, but He doesn't leave us in need... He provides for us and fills that need. How incredible! You ever get to a point in your life where things are so good that you think "it must be all down-hill from here" and you're just waiting for something to go wrong, something to fall apart? Just you wait... God's got something great in store that you could have never anticipated. Yeah, we might go through some valleys in between the great times, but if you look around, God's always blessing in some way. Why wouldn't He? When He blesses you, He gets glory. It's very logical. But ultimately, I believe God desires to make us happy. He loves to see us smile. He loves even more when we acknowledge that the blessings that have made us smile are from Him.

Thank You, God, for the friends You have put into my life.
Krissy keeps complaining because I haven't written in almost a week, so at last, I have given in and I'm writing a new entry! This morning at church, the verse the sermon was from was Colossians 3:16. It says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." The sermon had three main points: 1) Worship is led by the Holy Spirit, 2) Worship is a vertical experience, 3) Worship is a horizontal experience. The first two I had heard many times before, but the third one I had never really thought about. As the verse says, we are to teach and admonish each other, in this case specifically through music. Since music is a part of worship, it is logical to say that the teaching and admonishing is also a part of worship. The pastor explained that loving, forgiving, helping, teaching are all a part of worship. It makes perfect sense: when we do things for others, we are ultimately glorifying God, which is the heart of worship. Good things to think about.