I was struggling to sleep, so I started to just look up random websites on my laptop. There’s a website that a buddy of mine showed me a while back called “The Wilderness Downtown”. The design and concept was pretty stunning. It was to a song by Arcade Fire called, “We Used to Wait”. As you interacted with the site, you were given an opportunity to send a postcard to your past self, typing whatever you wanted. I decided to play along and thought about what I should write. I looked back on the past couple of years and thought about what I would write to my past self…
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. –Matthew 6:9-13
I am an analytical person. I think about all the possibilities, the permutations, the psychology, the mentality, the strategies, the tactics in the things I take part in. Thinking about what happened that Saturday, I couldn’t really get it out of my head. Always thinking about all the possible options that I could have taken. The plays that I could have made. The mistakes I made. The error that sealed up what could have been. When you’re so close to doing something incredible, only to suffer and fall to the hands of defeat. It’s that feeling that you really never want to feel. Continue reading Will
Well, happy new year. It’s not only a new year, but a new decade too. A friend reminded me that we both had been around for four decades (80s, 90s, 00s, and now 10s). That’s beside the point. 2010 definitely has a lot of things coming. Two events that stick out to me are the Winter Olympics up in Vancouver is coming up quickly and the World Cup down in South Africa. But before looking forward, I felt it would be good to look back on 2009.
… I was driving back home from a friend’s house in Kirkland at around 4 am Friday morning. The drive itself left me thinking and frustrated about one of the things I did that day. But as I crossed the 520 bridge into Seattle, I took a look to my right to see a beautiful sight. Along the horizon, there was a sea of colors painted across the morning sky. It was a clash of the former night sky and the morning rise. The dark hues of blue fighting to remain as the lighter shades started to shine brightly. The plane of orange along the horizon prepared the sun for its glorious appearance to the city. As I saw this, I was just in awe. The sky was God’s canvas and all I could think was “That’s a beautiful painting, God. You never fail to amaze me with what you can do and what you’ve done and shown in my life…”
It was a little over two weeks ago when all the conferees at Mt. Hermon began their trek to their homes, with memories and thoughts of God’s game plan in mind. But as I start to reflect on all the amazing moments throughout that last week in June, it reminds me of one thing: It’s all about you, Lord. It’s always about you. When I made the commitment about a month ago to cabin lead at InterHigh, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I began to have a lot of fears and worries start to take control of me. Will I be able to do this? Will I be able to handle that? Am I going to have to do this alone? I was concerned about my performance and leadership at camp… but that was the wrong mindset. It wasn’t about me first. It was about Christ. It was about God first.
As we walk along in our path in life, we’re walking into an unknown darkness that leaves us, at times, struggling with fear, worry, and temptation. Maybe it’s our grades, our relationships, or our careers. In a society where we’re so focused on individualism, we can easily become engulfed into thinking about ourselves and selfishness. We’re in a world where success is a means to survival and prosperity and instant gratification and sin are a way to personal, but temporary, happiness. These obstacles will always be scattered through our paths. And from there, we can succumb to those things… And it leaves us wondering and asking: where God was to get us out of that rut?
The answer is simple though… He was right behind us the entire time, waiting for us to turn around and call for Him.
During the week, I was reminded of Joshua and the battles he fought to regain Israel. There were a lot of actions that someone might think, “Why the heck am I doing this? Walk around the city this many times and look like a fool? Are you kidding me?” But Joshua didn’t. He wasn’t concerned about himself, he was doing what God told him to do and followed His will. As he did, cities fell, and Israel returned back to the control of his people. It was a matter of trusting God and God would fulfill His promise. He didn’t leave them stranded. Nor will He do the same to us. It’s important for us to get away from those thoughts of our own self-preservation, self-concern, and selfishness and to just say, “Christ, take me. Use me for your kingdom”…
When we say “Jesus isn’t a religion, but a relationship”, it’s exactly what it means. We don’t just go to church and small group every week and just read God’s Word everyday because we have to. It should be because we want to seek out a relationship with Him. Communicating with Him, glorifying Him in our everyday lives… but ultimately trusting Him and seeking His will. There is no relationship without those things in mind. Once we do, those once mountainous obstacles become anthills that we can just step over. It’s a matter of thinking about God and that it’s always putting Him before ourselves. He knows us better than we know ourselves. It reminds me of Psalm 37:3-7. When we commit ourselves to Him first, He will make something of the lives we live and see out our hopeful desires and dreams.
… As I got off the bridge and onto I-5, I thought about how much larger God is than my life. While I focused on myself and my concerns, I was left paranoid, in fear, and frustrated. But as I started to put more trust in Him, things started to work out and I could really start to see the works in His kingdom. As I thought about what I did that day, I realized the selfishness and the sin I committed towards my friend that day. I needed to look to Him to help me through the realization that I now had to deal with. While I was not happy with what I have on my hands now, I know that He loves me and He will provide for my needs. Rather than try to paint my own picture, I allow God to use me as His canvas to paint a picture of His love, His glory, and will for me for everyone else to see.
As I passed the UW exit, I looked up and I saw a cross shining brightly over the highway off the Calvary building. I smiled with a sense of relief. It was just another reminder of all the things He’s done for all of us and just how amazing a God He is.