Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Attack of the Random Thoughts

It's been a while since I've sat down and recorded my life, and the past week has been insane. I'm home in Arizona for a few short days, as I fly to Thailand by way of San Francisco and Hong Kong. The following thoughts have been percolating for a bit.

#1: O'Neals
Last Thursday, I ate dinner with Scott and Emily O'Neal, two friends who I love dearly. Emily cooked up Thai fried chicken with sticky rice, followed by a dessert of sweet rice. I admire these two for many things, but especially admirable is their commitment to live near their church, Immanual Baptist, which, while far from being in "the ghetto," isn't exactly located in beautiful St. Matthews either. Although I hate referring to "the good ole' days" (Ecc. 7:10), but it was awesome to just sit and talk with Scott again, and invaluable to learn some practical helps in Thailand from Emily, who has extensive short term experience there.

#2: 489
I hope to blog as much as possible while in Thailand. For easy reference, all the entries will be prefaced with 489 (as in MS 489, the internship's course code). I was telling John the other night, that I don't want much out of this summer, I just want it to be the most pivotal time of my life. I have an amazing chance to learn first hand from a veteran missionary who does now what I hope to do one day, strategy coordinating for an unreached people group. I can't wait to learn and I hope to record as many reflections as I can here.

#3: Fear and Trembling
While part of me is jumping up and down with excitement over shipping off to Thailand this summer, the other part of me is scared shift. This goes beyond, having to navigate international airports. This is about diving into the deep end of an Olympic-sized pool and barely being able to swim. (In other words, it's like me diving into the deep end of an Olympic-sized pool because I can barely swim.) I've been training for missions for three years now, but it all feels utterly insufficient in the face of reality. I told God a few weeks ago that maybe this is how it's supposed to be: having all the preparation you can but still knowing that it doesn't count for anything if He's not in it. The fear and trembling is compounded by other areas of life.

#4: Arizona and Me
As Southwest 822 swooped in towards the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport, I looked outside the small window to my right and saw sights that were immediately beautiful and familiar: the reddish mountains of pure rock that hem and puncture the Valley of the Sun, the sights of cacti, and so forth. I looked out over the sights of the state I claim as my home, only to be greeted by this thought: "I don't belong here." I realized immediately that the statement was true. This is not my home anymore, my family simply lives here. It reminds me of what I once told Toto : "I love my hometown but it doesn't love me." I also came to the realization the other night that my hometown has become for me a place of brokenness, of desperation, a place recently home to severe hurt that has not completely healed. But, it has also been a place of God's mercy and it is that mercy that I hope to see in my seven days till I leave.

#5: Chamber Music
I read the following in My Utmost for His Highest today, and found it encouraging. Consider this the benediction of the post. God is not concerned about our plans; He does not say - Do you want to go through this bereavement; this upset? He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, nobler men and women; or they are making us more captious and fault-finding, more insistent upon our own way. The things that happen either make us fiends, or they make us saints; it depends entirely upon the relationship we are in to God. If we say - "Thy will be done," we get the consolation of John 17, the consolation of knowing that the Father is working according to His own wisdom. When we understand what God is after we will not get mean and cynical. Jesus has prayed nothing less for us than absolute oneness with Himself as He was one with the Father. Some of us are far off it, and yet God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him, because Jesus has prayed that we may be.


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