I've been doing a lot of sitting lately.
On October 12, I ran through the kitchen and as I curved around the island my feet flew out from under me. X-rays revealed that I busted the three middle metatarsal bones in my left foot. Ongoing pain in neck and shoulders from a previous injury makes using crutches almost impossible. I am blessed to have a couple of wheelchairs - one in the main part of the house, and another in the "great room". I use borrowed crutches to negotiate three steps from library to great room. The rest of the time I sit - in a wheelchair, or on my bed.
Sittin' and Thinkin'
Doing a lot of sitting means doing a lot of thinking. I've been reading - The Bible, magazines, Poetry books, and books on Kindle, including The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield.
Rosaria writes with refreshing candour about her conversion from the life of a feminist/lesbian/college professor to a surrendered life in Christ. This drastic change in everything she knew and loved was not easy. She writes,
"My conversion still felt like a train wreck.
All of the testimonies that I had heard up to this point were egocentric and filled with pride. Aren't I the smarty-pants for choosing Christ! I made a decision for Christ, are't I great? I committed my life to Christ, aren't I better than those heathens who haven't?
This whole line of thinking is both pervasive among evangelical Christians and absurd. My whole body recoiled against this line of thinking. I'm proof of the pudding. I didn't choose Christ. Nobody chooses Christ. Christ chooses you or you're dead. After Christ chooses you, you respond because you must. Period. It's not a pretty story."Life's a Train Wreck
My life sometimes feels like a train wreck. It's been a while since my conversion (1977) but I often feel like my life is hurtling down the track without a map or compass. I have no idea where I'm going, or what obstacles I'll encounter on the way. I am not in control of anything.
Of course, as a Christian I can assure you that all things will work together for my good. I love and serve Almighty God, who knows all things and does all things well. I see myself as His servant, His doulos, His child. He is my Father, my Lord, my King. But He isn't safe. He is, however, in control of everything.
I am learning to be obedient, but I am also learning that this God I trust doesn't necessarily do what I want. I want to be a creative person with a clean house and obedient children. I want great relationships with loved ones and friends, and a husband who understands me. I want to obey God well, and teach others to do the same. Yet I find myself sitting alone in a wheelchair with my house askew and my relationships a wreck. When I was first converted, it seemed so easy. Just do this and this and that... check off that checklist... and all of life will be rosy.
Anything Can (and Will) Happen
Another quote from Rosaria:
The boundaries for obedience are clear, but trust must somehow manifest itself in the boundary-less world of "anything can happen".
The fact that God is sovereign over the good and the evil does not necessarily make the evil any less frightening.Ask the person facing cancer. Ask the mother who just buried her child. Ask the man who just lost his job after 20 years of faithful service. Anything. Can. Happen. And it's not always pretty.
Life's an Improvisation
In drama class we learned this week that life is one big improvisation. Our daughter Linda tweeted,
Life asks us to improvise and sightread. We're hardly ever prepared. Yet we go, live, and see the beauty of every moment better that way.
Life hands us hurdles that leave us gasping for breath. We slip and fall and bust some bones. We watch a loved one take his last breath. We endure unrelenting pain for days, weeks, months, decades. Our hearts grieve at loss - loss of jobs, loss of friendships, loss of reputation.
How Do You See Life?
When you consider life's ups and downs, joys and sorrows, what do you see? It all depends on if you are looking with faith, or with unbelief.
"Unbelief puts circumstances between itself and Christ, so as not to see Him...Faith puts Christ between itself and circumstances, so it cannot see them." ~F.B. Meyer, The Shepherd's PsalmIt all depends on your glasses. Do you look through the lens of Faith, of Scripture, of hope in Christ? If so, you will see that no matter how scary the train wreck, no matter how many shifts in script, the circumstances of life are ordered by the Lord.
That's how I choose to see. I look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV