Lesson: Glorying in the Midst of Certain Uncertainty
Wow. I am sitting in a room on my college campus, gazing through a window that allows me to see the entire front-end of the university. I see it—in all its beauty, in all its summer lonesomeness; I see how it’s dying of the urge to step out of its introversion and teach us all the lessons it’s learned over the years. I’m amazed.
Okay, I know I have some weird thoughts sometimes, but I’m thinking of when I was a young kid and my mother, sister, aunties, church family…would all look at me with surprise (after having seen me just a few days prior) and say the words, “You’ve grown!” I always thought it was strange. Really? Come on now. There’s no way I’ve grown noticeably since yesterday.
But I also remember asking my mom regularly, “Why do my knees hurt? Why do my shoulders hurt? I’m only a kid; why does my whole body hurt?” My mom would answer, “They’re just growing pains.”
I remember writing to you all last week in my last blog, and I mentioned how people sadly tend to care more about policies than they do about people. I also remember sharing my experience about reading the letter I wrote to myself a year ago. Reading that letter that was written during one of the most “spiritual mountaintop times” of my life made me feel like I had been completely stagnant for the past year.
Something God has shown me; however, as I face this time of uncertainty in my life right now, is that sometimes we cannot see our own growth. Sometimes we can’t hear God’s voice, see his vision, or even establish a significant plan to keep us in a place we view as “spiritually fit”. Sometimes all we can see and feel is pain.
I recognize now that the pain that I have been experiencing over the past year has been growing pains, although I couldn’t see the growth. God has been teaching me through some unfavorable times, and when I thought I understood the lesson and it was time for God to move on in the curriculum, he would hold me there so I could gain experience in the desert—experience that would ultimately teach me more about a subject I thought I knew everything about, and would enable me to impact others in a way I would not be able to had I not had prolonged experience in the desert.
God has been teaching me about me and about him in various ways. Going back to the idea of policy vs people, it is true that some people just don’t care about others. The fact that I have come across many people who couldn’t possibly care less about me or my success has made me fall in love with God’s love all over again. Bluntly put, they don’t love me, but I know God does although he has every reason not to. He chooses to love me every day.
Many people, self-proclaimed Christians included, have treated me like the scum of the earth due to some of my mistakes, but God’s love goes beyond my failures. Psalm 91:11 says “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” In all my ways?? What kind of person would command anyone to guard a person “in all their ways”—including their choices to do wrong?
Although there are factors that have contributed greatly to my struggle, I take full responsibility, so I thought God could possibly be allowing me to suffer in order to teach me a lesson, but today I was reminded of what David (an imperfect man who loved God desperately) wrote in the last three verses of Psalm 91.
Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.
Yes, today I still face more uncertainty; however, I am entirely content. I know that God loves me. There is a question that has been lurking in the back of my mind for quite some time now as I study theology in school: I know God loves me, but considering the fact that in the Bible God seems to care more about the eternal wellbeing of a person than their daily emotions, I wonder does God care at all about how I feel?
I believe he does. I believe that when he allowed a sin-sick people to crucify him on that cross, he was showing that he is entirely invested in me. Yes, there is an ends that outweighs the means, but I believe that he chooses to be with me every step of the way; not just during the “significant” steps. He concerns himself with what concerns me, even if he isn’t worried like I am. That’s why he listens. He may not always speak, but he listens.
Times like this remind me of an old school gospel song called “I Won’t Complain”. It’s one of those songs that I have no idea how I know, but if you were raised around gospel music then you probably know it too. I don’t know who the original artist is, but every now and then I listen to Reverend Paul Jones sing that song on YouTube.
The song reminds me not only of my life, but the lives of my ancestors. Through the hardship, the toil, the struggle, the hell of oppressive slavery, I can imagine my black ancestors in the cotton fields singing:
I’ve had some good days
I’ve had some hills to climb
I’ve had some weary days
And some sleepless nights
But when I look around
And I think things over
All of my good days
Outweigh my bad days
I won’t complain
Sometimes the clouds hang low
I can hardly see the road
I ask a question, Lord
Lord, why so much pain?
But he knows what’s best for me
Although my weary eyes
They can’t see
So I’ll just say thank you Lord
I won’t complain
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, KJV). I’ve yet to hear God’s verdict concerning this situation, but I see the tangibility of my unaccomplished hopes, and I see evidence that has not yet appeared. God, I have faith in you.