Friday, September 30, 2011

Yahweh Yireh

Hallelujah! September is over! I don’t know how this past month was for you, but it was pretty brutal over here. It was so bad that I had to make up a new word because all others failed in description: lifesore. Lifesore is what happens when the hits just keep on coming, day after day. You know, when you get so sore that you can’t even get out of bed in the morning because it hurts just to move.

I had planned to use this title for a blog post last weekend, to celebrate financial provision. The bills from my knee surgery in August finally filtered through the insurance and simultaneously down to me. They were quite a bit bigger than I had anticipated and I don’t have several hundred dollars just lying around. You can imagine the anxiety which set in as I did the math, even though I already knew I would be short.

However, I had forgotten that because of the calendar’s set up there were actually three paychecks this September! My budget is structured around two paychecks, so the unexpected third was exactly what I needed. I was able to use the extra payday to cover the medical bills, knowing that there would still be another one before I had to pay my rent.

The plan was to write about all that last weekend while I was in New York for a funeral. That did not happen because my car broke down while I was halfway there. And by broke down, I mean my transmission blew just as I hit the PA/NY/NJ border on I-84. It didn’t just blow, it was “blown to hell,” according to the mechanic.

Now that I am at last getting a chance to write this, it looks quite different than I had originally intended. I have so much more for which to be grateful, blessings such as: being able to (barely) coast off the highway and avoid an actual accident; having already been wearing a very cute new hat so that the rain wasn’t quite so dampening; my grandparents helping me pay for a “new” transmission.

All that to say how very excited I am that September is over. I am even more excited that my Lord sees and provides for my needs before I ever could. Seriously, how long ago did the whole calendar thing get set up? No way could I have taken care of that one! For a month that started with half the county getting flooded out, it sure put a strain on divine providence.

September reminded me again and again that life hurts. Sometimes it’s physical pain, like strength training on my refurbished knee, which hurts like a bad word. Other times it’s emotional stress, like wanting to panic when your car dies. Most often it involves a spiritual ache for a better world, a kingdom which is not of this world. The one place I can find enough strength is in the knowledge that our God has already provided for not only our temporal needs, but even for our eternal.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Like A Rock

Driving home from Upstate New York on Sunday in the middle of Hurricane Irene, I felt like I should have been in one of those car commercials. You know, the ones where they show you how awesome the vehicle is by driving it through rivers, over boulders, hauling the Titanic, and then launching it into space to fix the International Space Station. Then at the end someone sings “like a rock, ohhhh like a rock!” and that’s supposed to make you buy their product.

Blatant materialism aside, my little Spencer performed like a champ and nobody is allowed to criticize him ever again. I spent most of the trip gripping the steering wheel and contemplating rocks in all forms, including rock ballads and rock slides. I found myself meditating on the parable of the wise man who built on rock and whose house withstood a hurricane; the foolish man had built on sand and his house was washed away.

My flatmate and I were recently discussing fear. Fear of getting robbed, mugged, carjacked, etc. This is something we all consider occasionally, whenever we see it another violent crime against an innocent victim reported on the front page. It’s not a question of whether we will have storms in life, only of when. The real question is how then do we live.

One particularly common sentiment seems to be that all you have to do is get married. Everyone seems to expect that a spouse will fix everything that is wrong in their life—everything from their car to their parents’ marriage. My heart breaks for this mindset. A wedding is not the happy ending, complete with riding off into the sunset and happily ever after. It is only a (hopefully) happy beginning. I worry that my friends will discover this the hard way.

No mere human can control every aspect of life. There has yet to be a single person in my life who has not let me down at one point or another. Relationships fail. Jobs are lost. Looks fade. People die. When life shakes you to the core, you’d better hope your foundation is sturdy enough to handle it. Trouble happens, but you can’t let the fear of it rule your life.

There are always several responsive options: you can fight, you can run away, you can ignore it and hope it goes away…. That decision defines you. It will impact the rest of your life in ways you can’t even fathom. Yes, you should be able to rely on your husband, wife, father, mother, etc. But “should” and “could” are two very different things. When you suddenly can’t depend on anyone or anything else, the Rock on which you should have built your life is going to matter even more.

The conclusion of the aforementioned conversation on fear was that we could never leave the house, but that would be no way to live. Sure, we could hide under the covers, yet we choose to go out and confront life head-on! Every day, we each must boldly go where no one has gone before! Even if that means sometimes having to drive through a hurricane.