Current mood: hopeful
i think I’m in a writing slump. At least I was, for a while there. So I did what I always do to relieve writing slumps. Well, at least what made sense. I picked up a handy novel and started reading.
You know what’s funny? Sometimes the greatest life lessons don’t come as single simple “lessons.” Sometimes they don’t have handy little wrap-ups on them, things that say “the moral of the story is…” Sometimes the story *is* the moral. Sometimes.
For example, who would think a guy could learn *anything* useful from “MacGyver?” Here, I thought the time I spend watching that late-80s-early-90s show was wasted. I was wrong.
For example, in an episode called “The Road Not Taken,” MacGyver meets an old girlfriend. Actually, she was “the one,” or so he’d thought. He was ready to ask her to marry him 8 years before, but she took off for the middle east somewhere. They meet, re-unite, and are still in love. Then, at the end of the episode, she chooses what she’d chosen before: she decides to become a nun.
MacGyver pleaded, asked, romanced, and did everything in his power. She knew what she wanted to do. I watched closely to see what MacGyver would do. I knew from later episodes that MacGyver doesn’t get married… I just couldn’t imagine how he’d be able to let her go. I figured he’d cry when he left without her. He’d even gotten her a seat on the next flight back to the USA.
She turned him down.
As he walked back toward the airplane, I wondered what would happen. I knew that girl would probably cry herself to sleep every night. I knew for sure that she would change her mind about her choice a hundred times on those nights when she felt so very alone.
But she wouldn’t change her decision. She wouldn’t be able to.
That was the thing that hit me.
No matter how often she would regret her decision, she would never change it. MacGyver’s lesson was also mine. I knew then that she wouldn’t change her mind… she might cry, weep, or do who knows what… but not change her mind. It was tough to take.
In the end, though, MacGyver simply smiles and tells his friend Pete that “There’ll never be another one like her.” Then he waves to her, smiles, and gets onto the airplane.
Ok, that seems off-topic in a blog about a writing slump… but not really. Anyway, the novel I was reading was called “The Gates of Zion.” It’s the first in a five-book series. It’s a neat story. But see, what’s funny is, there’s two guys, and two girls. It actually starts out with one guy and one girl, but the second (who was also the first) gets introduced later. Then another girl comes along.
Here’s the thing, though. In the beginning, girl 1 (Ellie Warne) is on the verge of falling in love with guy 1 – Moshe. I know, this sounds like some crazy romance novel, and it is… but it’s so much more than that. It’s also an action-adventure story. Anyway, when Moshe acts like he doesn’t care about something that she thinks he should intensely care about, she starts not liking him. Meanwhile, guy 2, David Meyer, shows up. He also doesn’t seem to be interested in the cause.
Then girl 2 shows up. Her name is Rachel. Both David AND Moshe like her; David has a crush on her, but Moshe is different. Meanwhile, David proposes to Ellie, but she turns him down. He ends up going off and changing his ways. Moshe loves Ellie too. Now… here’s what happened. It all starts to seem crazy and Moshe is in love with Ellie. (She’s in love with him, too).
Then it ends up… David remains in love with Ellie, and they get married by book 3. Moshe and Rachel? Same thing. But it turns out that, when you read it, David and Ellie are perfect for each other. As are Rachel and Moshe. Personally? Moshe is my hero.
So here come more maybes. Maybe I’m going to get a story like Moshe… loving with a girl, fell in love too… then she ends up with somebody much better. Maybe. And also… he ends up with somebody better. Not that one is better than the other, but that they’re a better fit. *Shrugs* or maybe I’m David and Ellie will change her mind. But at this point, it doesn’t matter. In the end, I still end up with a beautiful girl… who’s the perfect match. Who the perfect match is is up to God. …I just wish I’d have met Rachel by now…
Incidentally, David and Moshe end up as very good friends… Moshe still loves Ellie, and David loves Rachel. As friends. I got to see that it is possible to love someone deeply – as friends – without romance – and love someone else more, and marry them. The one and only, the real love… it’s David and Ellie, and Moshe and Rachel. *shrug with smile* Who knows. Guess maybe all things *do* work out for good to those who love Him. 🙂
Ok, so it’s just a novel. It’s not real. But it’s enough. It’s a picture of life for real. For me, it’s hope. God is hope. Ok, move along to the next blog entry….
I went to Awake last night and finally got a chance to tell my story. I told my friends about being broken up with, about having to promise not to kill myself after the breakup… about being a Christian and suicide just not something that Christians do.
I told them about the times I raised my hands and hoped a car would hit me, or I’d wreck my FedEx truck, or that God would just stop the world and let me off. Rapture. How I didn’t want to live anymore. How I didn’t feel like I was alive, even… how eventually I reached the point of wanting to continue living… and only a couple of days ago, I reached the point of hope. Where I look forward to tomorrow. Where my future is bright, and full of love. I got to tell them what God has done for me. How God brought me from wanting to die, to wanting to live. How it wasn’t fast or easy, but God has been good.
Then the pastor of SonRise started talking a little. He’d been there too, but not over a girl, I guess. He said a lot of people could probably identify. Maybe some are still there. He told us that what God gave us isn’t just about us… it’s about other people too. Suddenly I realized that maybe pain *is* God’s megaphone. Not necessarily to point out our sins, though I guess it could be… pain is God’s megaphone… I’m shaking my head right now because this doesn’t even make sense… it’s God’s megaphone to say that He is good. That He loves us.
The logic of that is…. almost absurd… but I’ll try again.
It’s like my profile says, one never knows the value of knowing that his redeemer lives until he desperately needs a redeemer. How do you know that you can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil ’till you’ve walked through it? Why would His rod and staff comfort unless you’d seen the shepherd in action? Resurrection morning has no power alone – without good friday, resurrection sunday is meaningless. How can good exist independent from bad? One who has known bad cherishes the good even more.
I never would have thought that the pain of Christmas Eve, the life-killing awfulness of that day… could ever bring something good. I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that today I could be writing again that God is good and loves me and has the most wonderful plans for me… my horrific agony used for God’s glory? It is unimaginable! It’s… like nothing I could have imagined.
Back in those days, I struggled to believe that God could have anything good left after everything I longed for had been suffocated. Then I hoped again, but in the wrong place. I hoped we could be together again. It wasn’t to be, and I suffered horribly after. Horribly.
I’m still stuck on this. How does indescribable badness… days upon days of wanting to die, wanting… aching… hurting…. how… HOW?! How does that become hope? How does that become joy? How does that become desire to live again? I’m not asking from a perspective of looking across and desiring… I’m asking from a perspective of BEING THERE and having not the slightest idea how I’ve arrived here. It’s… all I can say is that God is good, and He’s shown me that over and over and over again, until I’ve finally begun to believe.
Right now… I’m confused. Very confused. I look back and wonder how God could bring good out of the bad… without changing the situation one single miniscule iota!!! I always knew how the story ended. God would change the minds of Kara and of her dad and mom. I always knew I’d be able to be happy then, ’cause a miracle would have happened.
Right now, though, I’m living in the middle of a bigger one. God hasn’t calmed the storm. He’s calmed his child. He’s indescribably good. As I asked in a blog entry a few months ago, what can you do against such a God? Who is like our God, who takes the bad and terrible and mixes it well with Himself, and completes something awe-inspiring. Why I am here, I cannot tell. I do not know. I still love Kara, but stand here in shock and wonder, trying to figure out how I can have hope in the midst of near certainty that we’ll never be married to each other – and not having a single other potential anywhere near in sight. How I can still wish for that, but be content with the thought that something I once would have given up everything for may never happen. This is God, my friends. This is God.
He has given me friends. He has given me his love. He has given me hope. Hope. I once longed for hope, and now here it is before me.
I know dark days are waiting for me. I know there will still be pain in my future… but I know that God is kind to me. I know that he is good. Is this what it is to glory in your sufferings? Because I think it’s pretty cool.
I want to stand up and tell my story. I want to hold the spotlight for my kind King. If pain is God’s megaphone, I’m ready to press my lips to it and announce that God is my hope. That I am the one who has seen the afflictions from the rod of the Lord’s anger… and that his anger is only for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. (ps. 30:5).
Yeah, I’ll testify. God brings life out of death. Death gets swallowed up in victory. Maybe that’s how God planned this all. Spring always follows winter. Life follows death. I’m smiling… ’cause we think down here that death always ends life. God’s story ends different. Death does end life. But in God’s story, life ends death, and when this happens, life wins out for good. When the blip of my life flashes off of heaven’s radar screen and my life ends in death, I know that it’s only a matter of no time at all before death ends in life.
So it is with the story of my life. The Christian’s life is always a picture of the gospel. Death ends in life. And God always wins in the end – and the nastier the odds against him, the better. The Bible is full of examples of God being dissatisfied with the odds against him… and stacking them a little higher. Nobody else gets the glory for this. I have no formula. I have only a God who doesn’t do things the same way twice – except in one way: The impossible becomes reality. And today, I’m living in a place I don’t deserve to be. I shouldn’t be, actually… but here I stand, thanks only to the grace of this God who loves me more than I ever could have guessed.
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