I’m thinking this’ll be short because my brain feels pretty empty. Plus I start this not knowing when A will call—she told me she’d call after she got home, amended to got back from shopping for cat toys as (I presume!) funded by L’s mom. L’s mom is nicer than I am.
I skipped communal worship this morning since I still felt the hand of illness on me. I really hope it lets go tomorrow, or maybe I’ll blow it off and hope for the best, as I am getting restless waiting for health.
BUT! But but instead I finished up Eugene Peterson’s Run With the Horses — that book about Jeremiah? — so some solitary, brain-impaired worship went on. EP evidently (in the Southern phrase) studied on Jeremiah pretty seriously, because he pulled out a whole lot that I hadn’t particularly noticed, AND in a systematic way. Which I found quite handy! Right now I’m thinking about:
Every situation in which we find ourselves must be included in the kingdom that we are convinced God is bringing into being. Hope is buying into what we believe. We don’t turn away and despair. We don’t throw up our hands in disgust. We don’t write this person off as incorrigible. We don’t withdraw from the complex world that is too much for us.
It is, of course, far easier to languish in despair than to live in hope, for when we live in despair we don’t have to do anything or risk anything. p175
Why am I, this season, dwelling so often on the equivocal nature of the lives God builds for us? Job’s rebuke to his wife has clung to the back of my head since we covered it in class a few months back. EP’s above comments spring out of Jeremiah’s land purchase just before the sack of Jerusalem.
My now-shipped (w00t!) SFD likewise turned out to be a meditation on unpleasant (!) situations that nevertheless clearly belong within God’s plan and provision. Even after word-wrestling for over a month, I still don’t have the why-mes I’d hoped to retrieve while writing.
Still and yet. My birthday will come Friday. I have a track record of becoming meditative just before a decade-shift, and this birthday is #48. Perhaps the practice of maintaining quiet balance in equivocal times is something I’m growing for #50.
What I do know, and am paying more attention to: God’s world is all things; “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28); and all has always meant the whole, whether good, bad, or indifferent. I sing, “My hope is build on nothing less / Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,” where hope is not a cheery happy feeling, but Jeremiah’s choice to purchase land.
Hope, like love, has action.
(Thanks, A, for the extra five minutes!)