Today was one of those retarded days, where stuff is just bad.
Over last week I have been becoming slowly aware of my new standing with God – a weirdly unhealthy one, where I read and pray daily (but still a little superficially), and I try to keep his outlook as much as I can, but somehow still end up feeling disconnected.
And the disconnected culminated over the last 24 hours. There was a brilliant sermon at church – well, I knew it was brilliant, because Phil (the preacher) said pretty profound things, but somehow they weren’t impacting me much. I went home, and retired earlier than normal, because I felt like I should be praying about the state of affairs, only I couldn’t keep a train of thought. I tried to read the bible, and I fell asleep instead.
This morning, I woke up late, completely un tired, but a little distressed about last night. I tried to pray about it again, but I still couldn’t form sentences in my mind (and therefore not verbally either). I couldn’t even figure out what was wrong, my mind couldn’t get around it. In fact, I couldn’t even work out that I should have been asking God for help, it was just total confusion.
I was rostered to pray for mission this morning during my bus ride (we have this prayer chain thing, where you commit to pray for an hour, so there is always someone praying for mission on any day from 6am-10pm), so that was fun, trying to pray in a frame of mind like that, on a bus. It was a pretty superficial affair. I got to uni and sat in my daily prayer-and-bible-reading spot and I realised I left my bible at home. I borrowed my friend’s during maths, and read all of Colossians, trying to make it mean something, but it didn’t work too well.
The next hour was a prayer meeting with Student Life, which I nearly didn’t go to. But I’m glad I did. Even though I couldn’t find anything to say, everything that the other guys said was stuff that I needed to pray, so it sort of worked out. And afterwards, Ken stayed with me and prayed for me and talked me through stuff. He told me about Elijah, who delivered a message for God, about Israel getting no rain, but then was ordered to go off and live in a ravine by a brook, being fed by ravens. Yikes. But then sometime later, the brook – God’s provision for Elijah – dried up, and God sent him elsewhere. I guess Ken was using Elijah’s story to illustrate that God has the power to take away our nourishment, and sometimes he does – despite it making us temporarily weaker or unsettled. But it’ll end up in us being stronger and closwer to where God wants us to be.
I was sort of annoyed though, that it happened today. Right in the middle of mission, when I am supposed to be really really certain of my strenth in Jesus so I can talk to people about God and all that. I was intending to spend this week completely out of my comfort zone, striving to do good things in Jesus’ name to win people for the kingdom. In response to that, Ken said that Elijah also would have been pretty confused. God gave him this huge message for the King of Israel but then instead of sending him throughout the rest of the land as a prophet, God sent him to sit by himself in a ravine. Then we started talking about mission, and how this stuff that we are doing now for mission is such a small part of it. A much huger part is the way we live. People aren’t converted because one day they randomly hear someone talking about what Jesus has done. Well, I guess they can be. But generally, people are converted through a series of events which involve seeing how christian people act, usually through the relationships they have with christians. Our biggest part of being missionaries for God is living like his people are supposed to live. And then we got onto
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I’m still a bit unsure of what to do, and what is wrong, but I know now that whatever it is, it is something that God will use to teach me stuff. Already I’ve realised that it was partly the result of me trying to live the way God wants me to, only without the God part, you know, doing the actions without working at my relationship with him. So that’s something I’m working on. But stuff is better now, the bible is making sense again, and I tried praying again, and stuff was cool. Yay. But man… apathy and laziness and the way I puff myself up… they are so scary, so dangerous and there is no way I am anywhere near safe from them yet.