Sometimes my brain feels like a machine with red lights flashing and sirens blaring with a message that says, “Overload! Overload! Overload!” Life’s events, changes and interpersonal interactions can happen at such a fast and heavy volume they just can’t be processed in an orderly and timely fashion. I still haven’t worked through the beauty and trauma of my time in Uganda, I’m still not sure how to think about our entry into public school after being at such fantastic private schools and there is such a disparity between the norms of the life I once knew in a more affluent area of town and the norms for people who live in my present neighborhood that I don’t know what to do with those observations either. We just returned from the funeral of a dear family friend who was a big part of my childhood, though disconnected in my adult years. The place was filled with old friends and the ceremony kept me weeping throughout. He was always here, and now he’s not. “Overload! Overload! Overload!”
“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:11-12
I want to make sense of everything, understand how all the jigsaw pieces fit together, have a clearly articulated thesis ready to present even if only to myself. But what God has to remind me of, over and over, is that I don’t need to have a tight grip on the complexities of a fallen world or the inconsistencies of sinful people or the way in which He is going to restore His creation to perfect in the end. He has the tight grip, He has the firm grasp, He understands and is the one Who will make all things new, not me.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5-6
This old verse that almost became cliche to me now pegs me right between the eyes. I am constantly leaning on my own understanding and finding instability, poor engineering and unreliable footing. He hasn’t given me a bunch of clues as if on a scavenger hunt for the prize of straight path…HE makes the path straight. “Do not worry”, He tells me over and over, “Do not be afraid!” But I do worry and I am afraid because I trust in my own understanding more than in His. I panic when I can’t connect the dots, the dissonance being too distressing and His hands which hold it all being too far from my heart’s consideration.
The problem with trusting is that it requires patience and passivity. Like those awful team building exercises where you have to be blindfolded in the woods and let your friends guide you, you have to surrender control and sometimes, dignity. Vulnerability must be accepted with confidence shifting from self-reliance to utter dependence on the only One who is actually Dependable.
I don’t know why He has asked us to trade in one type of education for our children for another or why I grew up in a more elitist culture than I had any idea and now find myself fully at home in one that is invisible at best and despised at worst. I don’t know what to do with these conflicting realities nor any idea what purpose my life might serve for His Kingdom in this strange unknown. But He is writing the script, He is directing the film and telling His story. Oh might that become enough for my heart to say, “OK.”
To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Is. 40:25-28