Friday, August 17, 2007

Transitory Thoughts

I received an e-mail from a prayer supporter yesterday that merely said:


Oh yeah, blog. I can do that. If I still remember how.

Hello, dear reader! Long time, no see. My apologies on my blog silence of late. Much has happened over the past two weeks including a 950 mile move complete with interstate and Penske rental truck; five days of meetings, conferences, and, well, life; and my first couple days in my currently internet-less new apartment.

Alack and alas, I have found blogging rather difficult during this time of transition. But no more! Enter: Dover Public Library, the hero of our story, with its close proximity and wireless internet.

We talked about these times of transition in a New Hampshire team meeting recently, looking at the Joshua 1 passage where the leadership of the entire nation of Israel transitions from Moses to Joshua.

Most of us on the team enter into some period of transition heading into this school year, so the question was asked, "What promises from God do you claim heading into this transition? What will you cling to when you hit your first obstacle?"

This easy question remained difficult for a few pensive moments, as I kept thinking of things that I wanted God to promise but which he had not. Perhaps my answer needs to begin there, with that which God does not promise.

He does not promise success as I would see or define it. I think of Moses. The Joshua 1 passage starts out with a striking statement from the Lord of Life, "My servant Moses is dead." Moses died never seeing the Promised Land, the goal to which his life-long endeavors bent. He never tasted the milk and honey, only catching glimpses of it from a far cliff.

Similarly, the Lord does not promise me the Promised Land. He does not promise the chapter at UNH to grow. He does not promise that we will see people come to love Jesus. He does not promise that the students will like me. I pray that these things will come to pass. What's more, I hopefully and confidently expect them to because I do think they will bring glory to God. But God does not promise them. I have no guarantee.

What he does promise is that I am where he desires me to be in a very literal and geographic sense. Perhaps more than any moment in my life, I know southern New Hampshire exists as the exact PLACE to where God has called me. He promises this because of his sovereignty. He promises this because so much had to happen for me to claim this place as home that he could have stopped it at any number of points along the way. He promises this through my fundraising hitting a level which allowed me to move, through no traffic during the move, through the fact that my bed fits perfectly (but just barely) in my new apartment, through the fact that the rain stopped when we began to move my stuff in. . .

Furthermore, he promises to refine me independent of success or failure. In this place, the Lord will not cease to draw me closer to him and to continuously refine me in his image. This often hurts. The blacksmith must melt and mold the metal before a sword emerges. But the Lord will not abandon, forsaken, or become indifferent towards me. This remains his promise to which I can cling come mountaintop or gully.

Which brings us back to Moses's example. Certainly he must have found it difficult to never enter the Promised Land. Yet, his life did not sink to futility and purposeless. Why? Because he knew God. Above and beyond perceived successes and failures, he knew God. He prays, "Let me know your ways that I may know you" and "I pray you, show me your glory!" He does not ask for success but for God.

Transition or not, this prayer God promises to fulfill.

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