Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. SO LET IT GROW, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and READY FOR ANYTHING. (James 1:2)
Right on, James, right on. Easier said than done, but right on.
I can’t believe it’s past the middle of September and I’m still in Portland. Good grief, what am I doing!? I’m still waiting on the van to fixed, praying it gets done soon, but at the same time, I’m so tired of waiting that I almost don’t care. That’s not totally true, but it’s hard not to get apathetic in the waiting process. When it comes to trials, I used to think you had to choose to not give up when when things got hard, and I guess since I always gave up when things got hard, I never got to the next phase of having to choose not to give up… the apathetic phase. Having persevered through the tough stuff, I’m now realizing you have to choose not to give up when you don’t feel like waiting anymore, when you feel like you almost don’t care anymore. I feel like that’s what I’m battling… not caring. That and feeling like a burden to a lot of people, and because I don’t want to feel like a burden, I just want to go hide.
But… I’m not going to hide. I may feel like hiding, but I won’t. I won’t pull a Jonah who ran off to hide when the Lord called him to something hard, I’m trying to pull a Noah who kept on building a massive ark to survive a flood, claiming the rains would come even when there was nothing in sight to imply they would. People laughed and mockingly asked when the rains would come, and not even knowing the answer to the question, Noah wavered not in his claim. I feel like Noah in a sense, everyone has the “when will the van be ready?” question and I got nothing except, “I don’t know, but it will be.” The longer it takes, the harder it is to stand firm in that claim, but I stand firm not in that claim but in my Lord.
And I may not know when the van will be ready, but I know the Lord will follow through on His word. Even though the mechanic told me my van would be ready by yesterday, the Lord seems to have had something else to say about it.
My former pessimistic, apathetic self would have been tempted to say “never mind” to whole thing, but my new self knows that I will never learn to endure if each time I am given the chance to say “never mind,” I take it. The beauty of other people having stepped into this story is that it holds me accountable to not give up. I would like to think I would have persevered all on my own effort, but knowing myself, I don’t think I would have. While I am a firm believer in embracing the tough stuff by way of feeling your feelings, I need people in my life who are not only not afraid to let me be sad or disappointed, but who also aren’t afraid to challenge my sadness and disappointment and point me to a God who has got me, even when I feel like He doesn’t.
And so, while I still have no van in my possession, I fully believe the Lord is still busy at work, asking me to trust Him as I wait.
The story continues, it’s just a plot twist. In fact, every time my plans get switched up, instead of yelling “why, God, why!?” I just yell “PLOT TWIST!” For as crazy as it sounds, it’s kind of cool to be in the middle of what feels like a test of faith and not pull the plug. I think most Christians love to talk about those opportunities for our faith to grow, but no one wants to talk about them while smack dab in the middle of them. Perhaps because while we are still in the middle of faith-growing opportunities, there is still the chance we might jump ship. Most of us want to wait until we have safely reached the shore to share a victory story instead of being out at sea sharing a “I can’t see past the storm, we might be stuck, but I think God is good” story.
My storm has calmed, but I’m still on the sea with no sight of land. I think it’s safe for me to say I believe God is good, He’s gotten me through many storms in life, so it’s not the storms that tempt me to doubt God’s goodness… it’s the damn cabin fever, feeling stuck with no way out.
Even with cabin fever, I believe my God is good and I believe there is a reason why I am still here… even if I can’t see it, I believe it, and so I’m not giving up. I’ve been praying for the people who have asked for prayer during my time of waiting. Praying for others helps me to not stay so focused on me and mine, so thank you to those who have asked for prayer… your requests have not been spammed, but brought right before the Lord. Your requests will be carried with me into my van and on my journey WHEN I get my van back.
Until it’s time to “GO VAN GO,” it’s time to…
GROW, ENDURANCE, GROW!