Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Providence continues

It never fails: God's providential grace is more than enough to get me through any situation -- even those that are major, paradigm-shifting ones. This week, the first after my most recent paradigm-shift, is the Week after Pentecost, and the prayer-of-the-day for this week seems to have been designed for my encouragement:
Remember, O Lord, what thou hast wrought in us and not
what we deserve; and, as thou hast called us to thy service, make us worthy of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit: one God, now and forever. Amen.
FEELING: Hopeful
LISTENING TO: Casting Crowns sing "...I need your peace to get me through / To get me through this night. / I can't live by what I feel / But by the truth your word reveals / I'm not holding on to you / But your holding on to me...."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Once again, a major paradigm-shifting event

As an abstract matter, should you ask me just out-and-out, I'd be quite inclined to agree that, as a general issue, "God answers prayer." Most of the time, my prayer-life reflects that: I genuinely ask God things that I believe he can accomplish, and in asking, it is my hope that he will answer.*

But if I am honest, I will recognize that there can be something -- well, let's call it "cognitive dissonance" -- between my intellectual affirmation that "God answers prayer" and an expectant-looking for that very eventuality.

And so it has been with the news I learned Friday: that I will no longer be moving to Montgomery, thanks to a complex series of events that began when the Legislature of Alabama passed the State budget, cutting it by around seventeen percent. Without going into details, I can say that my prayers to God regarding whether it was within his will to move to Montgomery were rather abruptly answered yesterday.

So, for the second time in fourteen months, a major, life-altering paradigm shift has occurred, causing a future that I believed certain and secure to collapse in upon itself in a matter of moments.

It's enough to give one whiplash.

But in recognizing that this paradigm shift is, indeed, an answer to prayer, if a resounding, "No," I must also return back to the source of the answer, and recognize that powerful truth proclaimed by Jesus: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today."

And again, from Jesus' follower and disciple, James: "Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.'"

Yesterday afternoon, God took my "I will go to Montgomery, spend a few years there, doing business as a lawyer and making money," and reminded me that "I do not even know what tomorrow will bring."

Truly, I am a mist that appears for a little while, and then vanishes. And with all the saints, today I must affirm the truth that "if the Lord wishes, I will live."

And maybe, just maybe, "do this or that."

FEELING: Chastened
LISTENING TO: "Falling in Love," a song by the band Falling Up, as they sing, "All of my dreams and passions / are in Your hands."

* I'd like to point out that since I believe God is Almighty (as in the Creed: "I believe in God, the Father Almighty"), I ask God for lots of things because I believe he can accomplish whatever he wills.