My heart is heavy. It is full. It is sad and discouraged and frightened. And from the overflow of my heart comes this post.
It has been a long time since I have written to you. I apologize. I have a lot going on right now: I graduated college last Friday, I’m moving to Lynchburg, Virginia and getting married to an amazing and wonderful woman on in January, beginning Seminary that same month, and I am actively searching for a job. It is a curious feeling to face rejection dozens of times in a three-day stretch, but that is how this job search has gone. These past four days I have walked and driven the streets of Lynchburg in hopes of hearing some potential employer quote the Kings of Leon to me (“You know that I could use somebody…someone like you”). But so far no lyrics have been recited, no hope has been offered, and no comfort has been obtained. This week there has raged a battle between my faith and the demon of discouragement. I am afraid. The well-being of myself and, far more importantly, of my fiancee are at stake. And I can’t seem to conjure up a job, no matter how hard I try. But my heart is full because I know there is no reason to doubt or to fear, even if my mind and my spirit fail to agree.
Truth be told, I am a pathetic case study on a Christian’s faith. As I type this, I am sitting in a diner at Liberty University, in public and in broad daylight with tears tickling my eyelids, longing for escape…afraid that at any moment they will be released from behind their dam walls and fall freely down my face in front of my soon-to-be classmates. I have come to this diner because I cannot think where to go next; I’ve been everywhere in this town. I can’t help but to feel like I am out of options. But even still, I know that I am not alone in this.
As I reflect on this pit-stop at LU, two words come to mind: Stall Out. I have stalled out in this diner, at the intersection of Talent/Self-Sufficiency and Sovereign Will. By all common wisdom, an employer would be crazy not to want me… I mean let’s be honest: I made a 32 on my ACT, graduated top of my class at college, and have work experience and a mean work ethic. But these things do not matter. Do you know why? Because it is NOT ABOUT ME. When the words ‘Stall Out’ came to mind, the amazing Mute Math song of the same title joined them in my psyche. And I resonate with this song. Here’s the chorus:
“I keep stalling out
I just can’t keep up
There’s alarming doubt
Am I good enough?
But you keep coming around
To convince me
It’s still far from over.”
This is where my faith rests today. I am a catch for businesses. This is not arrogance, it is simply truth. I have the credentials. But in matters of faith, credentials do not matter one bit. God does not give a rip about your credentials or mine. He would probably rather use a man with a 21 on his ACT than my 32. And He will if I do not release this grip I have on my own life.
The line “Am I good enough?” has haunted me this morning. It has haunted me because the answer is NO. I am not good enough…and I never will be. It says so in the Bible:
18And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'” 21And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.”22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” – Luke 18:18-30.
This young man had it all. He had money, influence, morality in spades…by all common knowledge, he was qualified for heaven. But he lacked faith. Jesus exposed the myth of this man’s greatness immediately. He told him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Wow. It did not matter one bit what this young fool had to offer, no matter how impressive it should have been. What mattered was that he did not KNOW God.
But I do know God. He’s my greatest joy and my reason in life. My life’s goal is to being God glory. That is why I was made. One day I long to proclaim what Paul did in Galatians 1:24: “And they glorified God because of me.” Knowing God is not the problem. Trusting Him is. “Leaning not on my own understanding” is my issue. And I am walking through that this week and for the months to come. It does not matter what I have to offer. What matters is what God has in mind. He will “work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” So it is time to stop feeling sorry for myself and start feeling loved and confident in the God of the Universe. He has me in His hand. When I come to intersections in life’s diner, instead of stifling tears of pain and discouragement, I can fall on Him, lean close into the chest of my Savior, and He will hold me up until I can stand again (paraphrase of a John Piper quote). And He WILL. Because He loves me. And because He is good, so I do not have to be. Amen and thank you, King Jesus, for you are all.
Thank you all for your prayers. I feel them…I really really do. It is good to know that I am a child of the King and that I am surrounded by such a great network of friends and family. I love you so much.
Grace and peace,