Thursday, September 23, 2010


"Jesus did not just die so we wouldn't have to, He died so we would know how to." -Professor Ted Bryant

Death has been something that's been on my mind lately. You might read that and freak out, but don't. What I simply mean is this: last weekend two college girls from two different campuses here in Indiana died suddenly. One of them I knew, one I didn't. They were 18 and 19. One was found unresponsive in her room and taken to a hospital where she later died. The other was simply hanging out in a hammock when a dead tree fell on her and killed her. So sudden. Just like that. In one instant a life can be taken. Two girls who weren't supposed to die so young.

We always talk about being prepared for death because it can come suddenly. But I guess it doesn't really hit you until somthing like this happens. After learning about the deaths of these two girls, it was like a new revelation, or maybe just a very poignant reminder, of how brief life is and how suddenly it can be taken. Anything I do while I'm just living a normal life could suddenly be the cause of my death. Both of those girls were just living normal everyday lives and freak accidents happened. Sometimes it's difficult to see God in all this. Right now, these deaths are still fresh, so it's difficult to see where God is working. But I know He does.

It's time like these when the idea that I will one day die comes to mind. And honestly, it freaks me out. I know Christians aren't supposed to be afraid of death. And here's the thing: I do want to be with God someday. However, I have always been afraid of change and of the unknown. And heaven will be a huge change. Heaven is the unknown. And that scares me. Not because I don't know where I'll go (I do know) but because it's a huge change. I'm not ready yet. I'm not ready to die this young. But neither were those other two girls. So why have they died, and I'm still here? Why is it that normal moments in their lives turned into nonexistence, while I am saved by God's gracious hand every day from those normal moments that could take my life? I rode my bike to the store today across a very busy street. Anything could have happened, but it didn't.

Yet the thing that scares me more than being the one to die is being the one to be left behind. Even though I didn't know/barely knew these girls, their deaths have affected me. They're gone, I'm not. I and people like me have to live without their lives in this world anymore. Someday I'm going to lose my parents...and that scares me. I'm not ready to live without them.

At this point you might be wondering why I included the quote at the beginning of this post. I think that God is calling me to the mission field. This calling is a lot about dying metaphorically to self. This is a huge part a Christian's life, and something I still struggle with daily. But I think this quote also has to do with physical death. I feel called to go to unsafe places. I may have to face death or the death of loved ones a lot sooner then I would wish. And when I think about that kind of death (dying for the cause of Christ), somehow, there is peace. While any other kind of death scares me at this point, somehow the idea of dying so that Christ may be known doesn't scare me. It's not ideally the way I would chose to go, but if it's God's plan, then I think I'm okay with that. And that's what I think this quote means. Jesus died so we wouldn't have to die spiritually, but He also died as an example of how to die to ourselves spiritually and how to be willing to die physically for Him.

So I hope that somewhere in this random collection of my thoughts you can find something that speaks to you. Don't worry, I'm perfectly sane. I don't need counseling. But this is something that I think many people might think about and don't know how to express. And while I may not have expressed it perfectly, I'm willing to be vulnerable and say what's on my heart.

May the peace of God dwell in you richly.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God Conceals So We Can Discover

Proverbs 25:2- It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

Can you imagine if we knew everything there is to know about God, creation, and His plans for our life the moment we became saved? The Christian life would be so boring! There'd be nothing new to discover, no revelation or 'ah ha!' moment, and certainly no need to read the Bible. Sometimes I think I'd like to know everything, but then I would just be like "what's next?" and there wouldn't be a "next".

I picture God like a parent who has set up a treasure hunt or an Easter egg hunt for their child. In these little eggs are great treasure, the "ah ha" moments, the revelations. New discoveries about God are in each egg. The parent lets their child wander around looking for the eggs by themselves for a while. The parent an see where they've hidden the eggs, but the child can't. So after a while the child becomes frustrated and asks for help. The parent then gently guides the child to the egg and the process may then be repeated. Sometimes the parent can only reveal one egg at a time before the child tries to do it on their own again, whereas other times the parent can reveal several eggs before the child goes off on their own.

This isn't a perfect analogy, but I think this is a good picture of God who, like the parent, wants to guide His chilren to these spiritual truths, these treasures. And sometimes we, like the child, try to insist on doing it our own way, but when we ask God for help we have much greater success.

I, for one, am so greatful that we have a God who does not allow Himself to be revealed all at once. I'm glad that I get to take this journey of discovery throughout my Christian life. It is God's job to hide certain matters from us like treasures on an Easter egg hunt and it is our job, with His guidance and at His time, to discover these matters, this treasure. It is like a life-long treasure hunt! What would happen to our lives spiritually if we looked at every moment we spent in God's Word as a treasure hunt?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


You know, somehow I thought that once I gave up what I perceived to be the idol in my life, I would be all covered. I figured I would be fine when preachers talked about giving up idols. It's like "been there, done that" and check that off my list. I thought I was set. Well, guess what. God showed me the truth about idols.

Although it sometimes may be the case that new idols come into our lives, I think more often it's that God is gracious enough to let us deal with one thing at a time. Therefore, when one idol is taken care of, He reveals the next one to us. This new idol was lurking there all along, but we didn't see it when we were dealing with something else/another idol. I think the idols in our lives are like the layers of an onion. We have to peel back one layer at a time. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if we tried to peel all the layers of an onion at once? I think that as long as we live we will always have idols to deal with, and every time we give one up we just get that much closer to God. It's like peeling away those layers one at a time until we get to the center. Getting rid of idols is a life-long process.

In the past couple months I've given up two major idols in my life. It was not an easy process. I wrestled with God in both situations, but I knew that giving up that idol was the best thing for me. And when I did, I felt such relief! It's incredible how wonderful it is to give up our idols! Last night when thinking about it, I wanted to laugh out loud, just cry out for joy! It's a huge relief to let go. I feel like a burden has been lifted, like the pressure's off. What a beautiful release.

I know I'll still struggle. But God has been so very faithful. What an incredible journey! I'm so glad that God is interested in the journey, and not just the end result. Because if all you have to look to is the end result, it's going to be one long, tiresome journey and you're going to want to give up. But if you focus on the process, you can discover so many wonderful new things you never would have known otherwise!