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All I had was a little hot chocolate before bed.  Really!  Why can’t I get to sleep?  I will surely pay for this tomorrow!

I should be working on my online coursework.  (I’m currently pursuing an ESL certification.)  But here I am, reflecting, mulling over things, half-praying.  I wonder what image the current brush strokes on my life portrait will have created a year from now.  I wonder if there will be more stability for me.  In terms of work.  In terms of faith.  In terms of the mission.

Sporadic sub jobs, private tutoring here and there, it all has its perks.  But I can’t help feeling, well, underutilized.  I have a responsibility to provide for my family, and I simply will not be comfortable as long as I am not doing so in a more substantial way.  So, as I mentioned earlier, I am on my way to becoming a certified ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.  I have a particular job opportunity in mind, and I pray that the door is open for me.

My faith is like shifting sand,

Changed by every wave.

My faith is like shifting sand,

So I stand on grace.    

The Chorus to Caedmon’s Call’s Shifting Sand has resonated with me for years, and I praise God for his glorious grace!  But I want to grow in faith, too.  When I pray “I believe, Lord help my unbelief!” I really want him to help my unbelief.  And in many ways, he has.  I can look back and see how he’s provided for me, brought me through so many things, kept me from falling away; He is certainly faithful!  But on the other hand, as I go through life, I keep stepping on patches of loose ground, and it unnerves me.  Theological issues, social issues, life issues that at one time seemed clear and settled by the Word become muddied, unclear.  Can I be sure that I understand what the Word of God says on this subject or that?  It matters.  The ramifications are real.  I wonder, as time passes will I become less confident in my ability to (or should I say the possibility to) understand God’s word and stand firm on truth when it counts?  Or, will God restore a sense of stability for me in this area?  For now, and ultimately, I can be comforted only by the truth in those lyrics mentioned above.  No matter how badly I lose my footing, I will never be able to fall off of God’s immense grace!      

Obviously, faith-struggles affect how I approach the mission.  With waning confidence comes less passion, less drive, less power to engage in the mission, namely, making disciples.  There is the youth group, and I am immensely grateful to be a part of it.  I don’t take lightly the responsibility that I have as it relates to these guys’ spiritual well-being.  I’m humbled and amazed that God would give me such a task.  But outside of prescribed meetings, what am I doing to advance the kingdom?  There are millions of people around me, numerous ethnicities, utterly without God.  I think often about how I want to reach them, and I was recently spurred on by a fellow youth leader’s presentation on world missions.  The possibilities, just in terms of the unreached groups, in this city are astounding!  Will I find in a year from now that I had been a faithful laborer, eyes on Christ, faithful to the mission?

I know this: God’s will is that his kingdom advances, that he is glorified in his church, and that his saints are sanctified.  So, however he fits the pieces together – or to maintain continuity in my analogy, whatever brushstrokes he makes, the final portrait will be far greater than anything I can currently imagine or hope for.

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