Thursday, March 6, 2008

Remember

Walking out of the apartment this morning wasn’t the best experience in the world. When the sky is a mass of smoky, gray clouds, it doesn’t exactly put a spring into my step. But as I walked to Mr. Copy to print more flyers, I saw throughout the sky, small openings to patches of blue. Not just a faded blue, but a beautiful Crayola sky-blue behind the clouds. I don’t know why this surprised me, but it made me think that maybe this is a weak metaphor for my life in the past few weeks. I have seen a lot of gray, not necessarily black storm weather, but gray, dreary weather and often forget about the blue.

Like I said, this is a weak metaphor but I don’t know how else to describe the past 10 days. I think sometimes I try to paint things as always beautiful on this blog when it isn’t. But those are the fun stories to write. It is not fun to write that I haven’t had very many good conversations lately, that I haven’t met too many interested people and have been caught up in details work, preparing for spring break trips. But that is the reality. I am reading a book called Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancy, and it talks a lot about faith and trust and doubt. I am not going through a lot of doubt right now but sometimes life just takes on that bland taste, like eating plain Rice Krispies; not a whole lot of flavor to it.

What is the answer to this? There are two quotes in this book that have stuck out to me; one says “At such a moment, we want clarity; God wants our trust.” The other says, “When something comes along to test our faith we rely on… patience formed by a long memory and a hope that our faithfulness will be worth the risk.” I don’t know if my faith is being tested by any great trial right now but I think that these two apply to any time, dreary or sunny. The thing that God has continually been reminding me is that he won’t give me more than I can handle.

This past Monday was not my best day; let’s just say I wasn’t walking as a joyful Christian, believing in Christ’s sufficiency to supply all my needs. So when I was back at home, working on detail work, and I got a call from one of my student contacts saying he was free to meet me at campus, I didn’t really want to go. But I knew I should so I did. When I got to campus, I sent a text message to my roommate Amos that said, “Pray for me. I am tired and have a crappy attitude.” The next hour and fifteen was the best of my week. I didn’t know what to talk about with Jody, so I asked him what questions did he have for me. For the next hour or so, in a mix of Italian and English, we talked about the Bible. Old Testament, New Testament, Jesus, fear, Satan, what does it mean to connect to Jesus and how do we have a right relationship with God. God provided exactly what I needed.

I walked away from that conversation praising God that there are people here in Italy who are seeking the Truth. Then, sadly enough, I was discouraged the next day when I was stuck doing more details work. My memory is quite short. I was reading in Isaiah 46 today and verses 8-9 to remember 3 times. Three times in one sentence. I thought back on it; God talks a lot about remembering. In fact, most of the Jewish festivals were for remembering times that God showed up in undeniable, real ways. So for me, when my vision is a little cloudy, I want to remember the times he has been faithful. Remember the times that God has clearly worked when it doesn’t seem like he is reachable. And if you are thinking, “I have never really seen God work in my life,” then remember the Cross. The sacrifice of Jesus. In the times that it is hard, remember that Jesus experienced it too; he felt alone at times (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?), wanted God to provide another way (If it is possible, let this cup pass from me), but he submitted to the Father because the Father loved Him. The Father loves you, loves me, and for that reason I can trust. Even when I don’t feel like it.

The sky outside today is still gray. I still have more details work to do. But I want to choose to remember and to trust. Not to be stuck in the past but to look forward to how God is going to redeem this period. How he will use it for good.

2 comments:

Judy said...

You know, Chris, it is somehow, maybe even sadly, comforting to know that even though you are living in Rome, supported by many with finances and prayers, you still have mundane days, just like me. It isn't all dynamic, faith-building conversations with international students that God has put in your path. It isn't all conferences in picturesque countries and deep, stimulating conversations with your peers. You are living out your faith, growing, observing and reflecting. I am responsible to do exactly the same in Dayton, Ohio and I am fully blessed.
Judy aka Mrs Hardman

Sam said...

Hey Chris, this really encouraged me as I read it. I know all about gray days after a winter in Syracuse, and its so important to stop and remember the awesome things God has done in our lives when we start to feel like the weather. Thanks man, keep it up.