After leaving the ministry and our church in June, some time to rest has been so good for our family. God provided a job and the perfect place for us to live, and for the first time in our marriage Jim has a predictable schedule allowing our family to function in more of a routine. I hate routines. But this one is good for us. The girls are thriving in predictability. Jim is thriving in his new career as an engineer, enjoying the freedom to be the introvert that he is and not feel guilty for it, and the simplicity of leaving work at work. I am happy in our new home, realizing that small and simple just works for us. The girls are sleeping, most days even napping together so I get some time to myself. Because our weekends are free we are enjoying abundant relaxed time together as a family which I can't remember having time or feeling relaxed in our family's recent history. God has blessed us with friendships here that we are actually able to enjoy now that everything is so much simpler. Life is good.
But as we have taken time to step back and not commit ourselves fully to any one local church for a season, as we are taking time to heal and reflect and examine ourselves, these questions and doubts are surfacing. We can only be honest before God, honest with each other with where we are, what we are feeling. Jim and I are on different journeys. Somedays our paths cross, most days we are working out in our own interiors the hows and whys and now whats. I have been here before, we all have. I am not afraid of this place, I do not run from my questions or find my faith shaken by the messiness of it.
When Jim and I got married, I marked Psalm 48:12-14 in my Bible:
Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
We are walking around Zion. We always will be. We have left the places we've been, the view is different from here. But we are still seeing the towers, sill considering her palaces. We so desperately want to tell the generation following what we have seen and experienced, the beauty of it. This God is our God for ever and ever. He is still revealing himself in startling, joyous ways. He is still our guide on this journey, and will always be. . . it's all about Zion, yes. But it's so much about the journey. It's so much about this God who is ours forever and ever. Knowing Him, learning Him, walking with Him.
We are attempting in this season to honestly wrestle with our questions, and to reclaim some of our lost innocence as well. I found Luke 9 just perfect today. It reassures me that yes, we all get it all wrong. But we always have . . .
First, the good stuff: Jesus asks his disciples who people say that he is . . . but whom say YE that I am? Peter: the Christ of God.
After that, it's one failure after another . . . the entire chapter! I counted nine times someone says something and Jesus is like, No, you still don't get it . . . major mistakes, like: in verse 33 Peter feels like he ought to give some instructions - in the middle of the TRANSFIGURATION. Then the disciples failed to cast out a spirit; they didn't get it when Jesus told them he would be crucified; and after all these failures the most important question in their minds was still which of them was the greatest? Unbelievable to me, until I think about the fact that we still do it, we still want to measure ourselves against each other and feel better than somebody . . . then they try to shut-down someone's ministry because they don't think he's as spiritual as they are. Next, after being rejected in a village they ask Jesus if they can't just send fire on them (Ha! I've wished that myself a few times) . . . three more questions at the end of the chapter related to "I will follow you . . . " and each time Jesus says, you don't know what you are saying.
So in a strange way this comforts me. Every single time the disciples think they are spiritual, Jesus shows them they are not. Every time the disciples think they have figured Jesus out, he shows them that they still don't get it. BUT. In the entire chapter, they did get one question right. Jesus asks them who they say that he is, and Peter knows that he is the Christ.
Maybe . . . what if, like the disciples, 90% of what we do we get wrong, or fail at, or have horribly arrogant or selfish motives mixed in . . . what if we didn't interpret that old testament passage correctly, what if we did misjudge that person and thoroughly discourage him, what if we think we have all the spiritual fervor in the world to follow Christ and he says, You are not who you think you are? What if I get to the end of my life and see that a great majority of it was a failure . . . will the 10% that I did get right be, My Jesus you are the Christ. I have stumbled and fallen and miserably failed in following you. But my heart is wrapped around Zion. I know her well. I have seen her palaces. My God you are my God for ever and ever. You have been my guide all this way, I have found you in every place. Every step I hear you saying to me, My Child, march on.