i'm just waiting for my car to be destoyed. it's already halfway there maybe, but it seems to be the next step. apparently whatever i was supposed to have gathered back in january i somehow missed. car stuff just seems to be the icing on the cake of my misfortune, as i got a speeding ticket on my way back to manhattan sunday night. right after the speed change, had cruise control on. common story. my own fault of course, but now was that really necessary?
a ticket is a like a sock to the stomach (who says "sock" for punch anymore anyway? and can you be "socked" anywhere besides the stomach?). insult to injury. here, throw this money away. i had that same sick feeling for a bit. but then i almost just didn't care. even looking at the ticket now and thinking about all i could have used that money for in another event--it doesn't really matter.
i spent awhile later that night in lawrence with my friend. the ticket faded away, along with so many things in the depths of a conversation that sat in deep, difficult questions. i think the heart of it is a question i find myself asking these days--what is it that ultimately matters? what is really going to fulfill me? not in a selfish way of my needs and all that, but truly what will make life worth it? when i am old and look back on my life, what will really matter then?
and is that even the way to think about it? hebrews 11 talks about all the great people of faith and how they didn't receive what they hoped for in their lifetime. they died without the promise being fulfilled. but then again, we are none of us abraham.
i guess you can start to think about these things in your life when it is all falling away. the map program i was pretty sure i was going to do isn't happening. there goes that one external thing that wasn't fragmented. in many ways i am in a place of death. there are worse places to be--and God is even there.
"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."
Psalm 139: 7-8
but as you watch these things go, especially as little is left sticking around, you can see what it would be like if you lost those few things too. and you are able to really ask what matters. what do i really want in life?
i don't have the answer to that question. i feel drawn to the "lesser things" in so many ways. i say it that way because that's how christianity has you see them. but they don't seem so small. and at times, they are so much more appealing than what is coming from following.
what will it really matter if there is a great revival and movement? will that fulfill me? or would that be just another expression of the real prosperity gospel? what are we looking for? maybe i just need to see lives transformed. maybe then it will seem worth it. "for who hopes for what he already sees? but if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." rom. 8:24-25
i need that perserverance. i need that strength. how much longer must i do it alone?
ultimately our hope has to be in God alone, for he is the only thing that will not go. but we need other things too, and so we hope in the lesser things, because we need them--we really do. but they will go, perhaps not always all at once and we will have enough of them to get by, to think that we can get through life with our hope in these things. God too, but these things. whatever they are--a spouse, a vocation, a friendship, a community, toys, knowledge.
but what happens if they are all gone? you may never be brought to that place at once, but if you are? who will have the peace that is able to withstand it all? when you scrape all the sand away will there be the treasure buried there? or just concrete? is the treasure worth it? is the pearl that great?
this is the verse that was both grace and challenge to me today:
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.