Friday, May 8, 2015

The reality of it

It was a strange and lonely year.  With great excitement, all my friends had left to start their freshmen year in college.  I was living at home, attending classes at a community college, and working two part-time jobs to cover my expenses.

This was not what I would have chosen.  It was not at all what I wanted.  But this was what my reality looked like for this year.  There was no money for me to go away to school.  My dad, finding himself suddenly unemployed, had been trying for a couple of years now to cobble together a new business.  Mom was teaching violin lessons in our living room to keep things running.

But in this hard situation, I was not without choices.  God had given me this year for a reason.  What was I going to do with what I had?  I could not change my circumstances, but I could change my attitude towards them. 

With my jobs, classes and schoolwork, "busy" was an understatement.  Bored was not an issue.  It was not a matter of filling up this empty year, but letting God use it for His purposes, even that which I could not know.

Very clearly to me -- even now-- God's Word redeemed that time.  It increased my awareness, not just about Him, but everything around me.  He showed me not just to put up with what I couldn't control, but to live expectantly within it, letting Him fulfill my time right then and there, and actually equipping me for what was next.  God enlarged my vision as a result.  It changed what could have easily been a dismal year of  "God, why couldn't I have gone to college like everyone else?" to a year of listening and to a renewed sense of His Presence.

This morning, the words of Psalm 100 reminded me of His faithfulness that year.  I had a 45 minute drive each way to classes and sometimes a longer journey to my job in the urban core.  My car did not even have a radio.  And so, I memorized scripture on those commutes.  Psalm 100 was one of those passages.

When I began reading it this morning, the words of this Psalm --memorized so very long ago -- rose up and embraced me with sweet familiarity, not just words of rote, but words of reality.  It was the year when I moved from believing the LORD to knowing Him in a new dimension, a year redeemed, a heart changed.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD,
                               all the lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into His Presence with singing!
Know that the LORD is God!
It is He that made us, and we are His;
we are His people,
and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
       and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him,
                     bless His name!
For the LORD is good;
His steadfast love endures for ever,
and His faithfulness
                to all generations.

                    Psalm 100

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