Month: September 2015

Doubt: Five Minute Friday

This is one of those “I have no idea what to write” weeks so let’s see what comes out occasions.

I doubt many things – myself, other people, whether what we plan will work as we expect, even whether God will agree with what I think is important. But I don’t doubt God Himself. I don’t always like Him (He often doesn’t agree with me), but I don’t doubt Him. He is real. He is everything He has revealed Himself to be and more. I wish I could express that so that all those who long for God to be real would know, He is.

Often, I encounter anti-theists, people who hate God, who battle against Him. (I regularly pray for them.) Often they are hurt. Often, they are confused. Always, they fail to understand that they are not doubting God. How is it possible to be angry with someone who doesn’t exist? They are angry that God is not as they think He ought to be.

dwarfs are for the dwarfsGod is frustrating, like a parent saying we can’t have cookies before dinner because they will spoil our appetite. He will not make our world as we see fit but instead, works according to His purpose and we must accept both His purpose and that only He knows how to accomplish it. My fighting God days ended when I began to ask, what if God is right and I am wrong? What kind of world would exist if God followed my script? What if I’m asking to cast myself as God and make God merely a character in my own story? (That one terrifies me.) Do I really want God to be under my control? Do I think I’m big enough to keep all that is in existence? To create all that is new? Can I create even one human being in my image? Am I big enough to love everything and everyone?

It’s hard when life isn’t as it ought to be. But if I haven’t the power to fix it, if all I can do is complain and insist that things ought to be different, then I’m like the dwarfs in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle:

Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs’ knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good wine in his right hand. But it wasn’t much use. They began eating and drinking greedily enough, but it was clear that they couldn’t taste it properly. They thought they were eating and drinking only the sort of things you might find in a Stable. One said he was trying to eat hay and another said he had got a bit of an old turnip and a third said he’d found a raw cabbage leaf. And they raised golden goblets of rich red wine to their lips and said, ‘Ugh! Fancy drinking dirty water out of a trough that a donkey’s been at! Never thought we’d come to this.’ But very soon every Dwarf began suspecting that every other Dwarf had found something nicer than he had, and they started grabbing and snatching, and went on to quarreling, till in a few minutes there was a free fight and all the good food was smeared on their faces and clothes or trodden under foot. But when at last they sat down to nurse their black eyes and their bleeding noses, they all said: ‘Well, at any rate, there’s no Humbug here. We haven’t let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs!’

‘You see,’ said Aslan. ‘ They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they can not be taken out.’ (1)

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On Friday,100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then post the results over at Kate Motaung’s blog, Heading Home. She provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We don’t edit or concern ourselves with whether our writing is flawless or worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.

(1) C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1978), 147-148

Image Source: http://revbickers.blogspot.com/2012/05/romans-61-14-dead-to-sin-alive-in.html

Same – Five Minute Friday

This week, I spent 5 minutes rewriting a passage from my book. The rewrite is moving along:

nyc from the air“Had I not bought the boys clothes for school,” I softly told my Friend. “I’d have enough.” I sighed and plucked out a blade of grass. “But he would have tried to take my money away. I just wanted him to leave me alone.” I sighed again. “Now I can’t afford both a plane ticket and to make it through the year.” My forehead was tight. “I’ll need his help,” I told my Friend looking out over Lake Mirren. “But he won’t help me. He’ll never let me go. Never.” I shook my head. “There’s no escape. It will always be the same.”

Tears welled up. With an angry sniff, I blinked them away. A brilliant flash of demanding possibility raced through my mind. “I can’t!” I told my Friend. “I just can’t!” The bright sunny day suddenly felt foggy, dim. I packed my things and walked to the bus stop.

Tap! Tap! Tap! I lowered my Bible, “Who is it?”

“It is I,” Ella announced. “Could you open the door?” I unlatched the hook and cracked the door. “I have a headache,” Ella was even paler than usual. “Would you make dinner?”

“Sure,” it was a pained sigh. I marked my place in Genesis and made my way to the kitchen. With the big chef’s knife Ella and the man had received as a wedding gift, I chopped carrots as if they were wood. “Why isn’t she making dinner?” I demanded of my Friend between chops. “That’s why he married her. I’ve been doing her job all summer.”

You could be in New York soon.

“What?!” The almost sound hung in the air. I felt my bum. The words were like a large boot kicking me gently but firmly in the seat of my pants.

You could be in New York soon.

My backside felt the gentle but firm kick again. “Really?!” My voice was shrill terror. I walked over to the calendar that hung next to the phone and counted days with the knife’s tip. “Three weeks. In three weeks I could leave.” My eyes widened. A warm tingle suffused my body.

A few minutes latter, Gerard came through the laundry room. “Dad sent me to get…” he began.

I interrupted, “In three weeks, I am going to New York.”

“No you’re not,” his voice dripped with superior knowledge.

“Yes I am,” my head nodded as I spoke. He shook his head and disappeared down the cellar steps.

When he returned, words tumbled from my mouth, “Will you buy me a trunk for my going away present?”

Gerard pursed his lips, “He won’t let you go.”

“Yes, he will,” I told him.

Gerard shook his head, “If he let’s you go, I’ll buy the trunk.”

“In three weeks, I’m going to New York,” I told the man that evening. “Will you pay my plane fare so I can use the money I’ve saved for my expenses?”

The words had tumbled out. I didn’t even rehearse, I mutely told my Friend as I waited for an answer.

At my words, the man’s face had become angry and indignant. Ella, who lay beside him, pulled herself up and spoke first, “That’s the least we can do considering how hard you’ve worked.”

The floor was suddenly wobbly, my head woozy and light. Something was changing. Something was not the same. My mouth formed itself into a small smile,  “Thank you.”

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On Friday,100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then post the results over at Kate Motaung’s blog, Heading Home. She provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We don’t edit or concern ourselves with whether our writing is flawless or worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.

Image source: http://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-2583917-stock-footage-new-york-new-york-circa-may-taxis-and-street-scene-at-intersection-near-grand-central.html

Yes! – Five Minute Friday

Let-Your-Light-ShineBeloved,

I want to say “Yes!” to you every day, every moment, every time You call me to follow You. At times I don’t. I don’t when I feel I’m being inspected, weighed in the balance, and found wanting. I don’t when I feel I’m being improved, molded. Like Bertie Wooster, “I don’t want to be molded! I’m not a jelly.” There may be good reason for my reluctance and fear but reluctance and fear are never reason enough not to say “Yes!” to You. I would face anything for You.

But this is one of those things I can’t do myself. I keep trying and failing. I fill my time with distractions when I could be finishing my book, studying, vocalizing, engaging in activities You’ve given me, activities I really want to do. A huge, solid block of fear bars my way, pins my wings so that I cannot soar. I don’t know how to move it. And just telling myself to write or study or anything else anyway isn’t working. This is one of those things I need You to do.

Just as You made it possible for me to forgive the unforgivable, You can make me able to write about what You have done for me. You can give me the strength to let the light you’ve given me shine. You can work what ever must be worked in me so that I get past the block or even discover that block is nothing more than an ephemeral mist, not worthy of my concern. So whatever I need and whatever it takes, work it in me so that I may give You my unreserved “Yes!” I’m not asking You to make it feel good. I only ask to do Your will – I don’t think hiding is Your will. Let me say “Yes!” in thought word and deed. Let my life be the song of “Yes!” The dance of “Yes!” A total “Yes!”

Image Source: http://embracingbeauty.com/2013/04/20/letting-our-light-shine-by-donating-w-champions-for-kids-mobilizingmillions-cbias/

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