Monday, October 08, 2007


Yesterday I was reading the three passages set forth in the daily lectionary, and one of them was the story about King Hezekiah falling ill.

I have read this story numerous times. Although I may have, on occasion, reminded myself that if I were told I was about to die, I would probably be upset, usually I just think, "What a whiner. He had led a good life and God had rescued the people from the Assyrians and everything, so what was his problem?" I'm not exactly sure what my problem is, to think such things about him, really. Because yesterday morning it hit me full in the eyes that I'm just like that guy.

When I was a kid, I listened with fascination to stories about missionaries going off to far-flung corners of the earth, and I wanted to join the ranks. And I guess I still do. But the thing is, back then I thought that if I were doing that, I would really be doing what God wanted, and then I wouldn't have any doubts about anything anymore, and I wouldn't ever be upset about anything because I would have reached total selflessness or something and everything would be caught up in the Grand Scheme of the Kingdom of God.

So . . . either I've never actually found what God wanted me to be doing at a given point in time (which may be arguable, but I have to disbelieve it just to maintain my sanity, I think), or that whole thing about "arriving" in this life is a bunch of hooey. Which doesn't really help me in the whole knowing-what-direction-to-go-in-next thing, but it does help me relate to Hezekiah a whole lot better. The dude was feeling terrible and plus he was going to die and he knew it, and he found that a little upsetting.

Hezekiah threw a fit, and then surprisingly (in my cynical view), God actually listened to him and gave him another fifteen years. He was probably okay with dying at that point, because by then he had undermined national security and the Bible makes it pretty clear that he didn't want to be in the vicinity when the whole thing fell down around everyone else's ears.

So yesterday when I read this story, I realised I've been getting all Hezekiah lately. I've been acting like (and therefore undoubtedly thinking like) this story's all about me, and it's turning out to be a tragedy. And there are things that are happening (or not happening) right now that are a little less than lovely. But the Story isn't about me, and it is about God, and whether He enacts a reversal or not, He cares in some way I probably don't understand. I will get through this time. None of the situations may actually change. But hopefully, if I'm open (and getting enough sleep), I will.

Meanwhile, there are lots of great things happening, too, if I'd just open my eyes to see them.


Heather said...

great thoughts on this story. i had seen it as you had before, so now this is helping me rethink my own whining.
and love the fall foliage pics, by the way--too lazy to post a separate comment today. sorry. but love them. gorgeous.

David Madeira said...

I think one of the biggest misconceptions I've ever had about the Christian walk is that there is ever a sense of having "arrived" at that place where you know you have done exactly what God wants you to do and as your reward he allows you to blissfully "get it" for the rest of your life. It all makes sense and you get to finish your days never experiencing any sort of doubt or question, and all is well in your own personal la-la land. If you somehow figure out what exactly God's plan for YOU is, and accomplish it, then the rest of your life is your reward.

This is why those newly released writings of Mother Teresa are so simulatenously comforting/depressing. Because here is this person who is the the picture of Christian service and selflessness, who by all means should be walking around with the dove of peace on her shoulder, whispering God's words of love into her ear at all times; and yet, we see her going through intense spritual turmoil and doubt? What gives, man?

But I guess we shouldn't expect it to be any different. I mean, look at Jesus praying in the garden, feeling forsaken by God, forsaken by his own essence. And yet we think it should be otherwise for us?

I think what's closer to the truth is that the Deceiver steps up his attacks on those that are trying their hardest to serve his enemy. Why would he need to attack those who are already lost? He goes after the ones who aren't following him. And his best weapons are those of doubt, despair, and the realization of our own feeble mortality.

Jenn said...

I think you're on to something, Jenn. I have a sense that "arriving" is not really possible if we are serious about walking with God. In some ways that may be our blessing and our bane, that we are always going "further up and further in"!

Jenn said...

Heather--we seem to see a lot of things similarly, methinks.

Dave--that is such a good way of putting it. I mean, I think intellectually I (and probably lots of us) know that there's no such thing as "arriving," but still the Christian subculture (and maybe culture in general) gives this impression that there really will come a point, if you're doing everything right, where you're fully settled and at peace about who and where you are and what you're doing--and that life will stay that way. You stated the Mother Teresa thing perfectly, too.

Jenn--that quote does come to mind!

Stacey said...

You know lately I've been saying that the "purpose driven life" is still just driven. Somehow I must learn to follow Christ in Matthew 6:34
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Lately, I've been thinking about this in the way of...I need to stop and enjoy or mourn in today...let God reveal a need for "doing" something new when the time comes and let the path unfold as it will.

Truly living relationally with God is a goal worthy of striving for -more than trying to figure out what I can do for him.

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