Thursday, October 12, 2006

489 Redux: Why Don't We Expect What We Ask For? Part II

While in Thailand, this past summer, God opened a wide door for ministry among Muslim students at the university in the city I was living. He led me there by His providence, causing me to notice the English language advertisement that alerted me of the club's existence, and in my wanderings on that campus, he guided me by seeming accident to their meeting place. I had the opportunity to befriend these Muslims, and dialogue about Christ with them. I especially hit it off with one of their adult leaders, a man who I'll call "Travis."

Travis and I had many good discussions together about all kinds of things, and he told me that he and his wife of seven years had been unable to conceive. He was afraid that it might be a side-effect of working in a scientific lab. I can't remember what I said to him about that. I hope that I told him I would pray to God for Him, but I think I may have simply resolved to do that myself. Nevertheless, since I last saw him in mid-July, I have prayed for him and his wife, although not as much as I should have, if I can even say that.

I've known for a while that I needed to e-mail Travis, and I finally sent him a third e-mail last night, hesitant because he had not responded to the last one yet. I opened his reply an hour ago, and received the answer to the prayer that I had prayed to the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and the prayer that he had prayed to his understanding of the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, an understanding rooted in the false revelations of Muhammed. The news was that at long last, after years and years of trying, Travis and his wife are expecting a baby.

I'm overjoyed for my friend, and will e-mail to tell him so. I'm going to take a day or so to pray about what to say first, though, for I want to give Christ the glory He deserves, and share Him in such a way that the gospel might be the only thing that offends, as opposed to me offending. I want to tell Travis how much Jesus loves him, and how He has given him this child in His mercy. I want this child to be raised in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord. I want Travis and his family to know Jesus; I just wisdom on what words to use.

I find myself overjoyed at God's mercy (as I should be daily) but just below my skin, there creeps the knowledge that by the weakness of my prayers and the weakness of my boast in Christ, I have short-changed God's glory, and that is a thought that humbles me before the Throne of Grace, realizing that my actions were sinful, but that Christ worked even in my widow's mite, although I had pocketfuls of cash to give. Lord have mercy.

For those of you who are new to the reading of this blog (and the re-print on Facebook), let me explain the title. All the posts prefaced "489" were written while laboring among the Central Thai this summer as I did my Boyce missions internship (catalogue code MS 489), and posts reflecting or adding to that experience are titled "489 Redux." A year and a half ago, I wrote a post by the name of "Why Don't We Expect What We Ask For," a recounting of my own forgetfulness and God's own faithfulness. Read the post, especially if you want some (Boyce) ancient history. It seems that I too oft live out the words of Hegel: "History teaches us that history teaches us nothing."

Sigh. Rock of ages, forgive my sin.

Attack of the Random Thoughts

There are a few areas in my life where I have no little bit of confusion, but for some strange and hopefully divine reason, I feel peace (presumably from God) that it's okay to not know the answers, that everything doesn't need to be scripted and certain. It's a nice feeling, but it's interesting how it doesn't solve anything. It seems to give me patience to let things progress as they are and trust His sovereign will, all while doing what He has me do.

The Office is absolutely amazing. It makes me laugh.

The Getty's are absolutely amazing too. I've been listening to their Irish Hymns 4 cd today (sung by Margaret Becker and co.), and it's awesome to the max. I highly recommend that you folks check it out.

Because The Office is so amazing, I'm going to go watch some more.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Wake of Your Passing

The hymn that is song at every convocation and commencement at my school refers to this earth as "a world in ruins... by sin destroyed and dead." There is no better evidence of this carnage then the existence of death itself, and on Thursday, October 5, 2006 the desolation of sin was evidenced in the death of my friend and sister in Christ, Karen Sheffield. She was 23 years old.

Karen died as the result of an automobile accident with an 18-wheeler, and her mother and a sister perished with her. She was deeply loved by those closest to her, namely her church mates at Shively Baptist and her hallmates from Doulos and Apostolos in the Mullins Dorms. I wasn't super close to her, but we got to share some good memories together. We worked on the same recruitment team last spring, and that partnership gave me a great chance to get to know her better. She was a genuinely sweet person who was filled with the love of Jesus. She loved her Savior greatly, showered kindness on her friends, and faithfully served her local church. My last prominent memory of her came a few weeks ago, as a R.L. colleague of mine shooed me out of the office so that she and Karen could have some "girl talk." Whatever the problems they had to discuss that night no longer have any hold on Karen now, and we can rejoice for that.

This world we live in is often overwhelmingly bleak and distressing. The only hope for humanity is to know that what Satan intends for evil, a loving and sovereign God means for good, thus the psalmist can say "precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints."

I don't think the God's powerful reign over the circumstances of our day to day life lessens our pain. The whole of creation is said to groan under the curse of sin, and Job's knowledge of God's character didn't make his ordeal any easier either. (Need I mention Jesus?) The pain and hurt of life is very much real, but I feel that God's powerful reign over the circumstances of our day to day life gives our pain new purpose. We can look to Jesus who for the joy before Him endured the torment.

Karen, your death has led me before God's throne yet again, helping me to remember just how badly I need Him. I look forward to reuniting with you in Heaven.

We meet to part, but part to meet,
When earthly labors are complete,
To join in yet more blest employ,
In an eternal world of joy.