Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wearying Weekend

Dad and I drove down to Manassas over the weekend to get all my things packed up and ready to move in December. Since my body chose that excellent timing to give in to illness, it was a thoroughly exhausting experience. Still, on the bright side, now everything is packed and ready to go, so my moving day should go pretty smoothly. We're renting a truck this time, so there are no space concerns, and I will have the help of not only Dad, but also Mom and my brother-in-law John.

I know this is completely silly, but I can't help but feel nervous about John helping me move. You see, the last time he helped me move, he wound up sick and in the hospital, where he learned that he had lymphoma. It was one of the scariest times of my life, watching someone I love so much fight for his life, and I have been plagued by guilt ever since, as he had to go into that battle completely exhausted and sore from helping me. I know that I didn't give him the cancer, but for some reason I still feel guilty somehow. John, in his generous way, pointed out that my moving actually caused him to discover the cancer and may have saved his life, but still I have a touch of lingering guilt over that whole episode. So, even though I know it is ridiculous, I find myself a little nervous about letting him help me this time - especially since this situation does bear a few similarities to that one.

That time, I was leaving Wilmington, North Carolina, following a hellish semester of grad school in which a violently non-christian professor treated me horribly (and my classmates, too, but he singled me out particularly) just because he knew that I am a devout Christian. He regularly tried to make me look foolish for my beliefs in class, and behaved in an abominable way towards everyone with his frequent bouts of temper (one time he threw a rather large dictionary at us while screaming obscenities). This time around, I am leaving a situation that is also one of persecution, but sadly, this time it came from those claiming to be Christian. I am certainly having my Wilmington flash-backs, but this time it hurts a little more, since those causing the pain are supposed to be my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Sometimes, when I see or experience situations like this, I find myself asking, why on earth does God put up with us? I mean, how can One so perfect as Him stand to be around such utter ugliness and filth as the way people behave? How can He stomach them stamping His name on their behavior as an excuse for it? I know He has a plan, and I know He will use this all for good, but I sometimes find myself asking how. In my feeble human mind, it is impossible to comprehend how things like this can ever benefit anyone. I am glad to know that someday in the future (how long into the future, I can't say), I will be able to look back and see how God meant this whole horrid situation for good. After all, Joseph must have felt pretty forsaken in Pharaoh's prison, but that experience eventually saved millions of lives from famine and led Joseph to wealth and prosperity. Yes, it then led to slavery for his descendants, but that later was used to remind them of God's grace when He rescued them from that situation. So, even though right now this looks pretty bleak, dreadful, and even pointless, I know that somehow it is going to serve a greater purpose.

I am continuing to pray for the other new teachers who are still caught up in that cesspool of unhappiness and deceit masquerading as a Christian ministry, and I hope that my readers will do the same. Please pray that they can all find new, better jobs soon, and that they will be able to persevere blamelessly until then. Please pray that they will not grow bitter, but will be strengthened each day and able to meet every challenge with a good attitude. Pray that the students will not be hurt, and that their parents will awaken to what is going on and step in. Pray that God will either raise up better leadership or will dramatically change the hearts of the current leadership there. Please do not pray for revenge and retribution, or for anything bad to happen to those who have hurt me and who are hurting others. I do not want revenge, as tempting as it was at first - I want to see the situation turned around, if possible, and those kids given the education, care, love, and Christian guidance that they need and deserve. I do not want to see ugliness returned for ugliness. Those who know me, know my heart, and know that I would never seek to hurt anyone - even if others may feel that they deserve it. Please pray for me, too - I am trying to find my way in life without giving in to discouragement, and believe me, discouragement is very tempting at the moment (I still lack both a job and a roommate, which is very worrisome since I will be moving back to Lynchburg in just one month).

"To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see."

~Fanny Crosby (1875)

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"