Today is supposed to be the end of the world as we know it.
And I feel fine.
I moved to Dallas, Texas from Tempe, Arizona three and half days ago with a couple of suitcases and a heart filled with adventure, anticipation, and uncertainty for the road ahead. I felt a great sense of pride, thinking that I would be the lone Arizonan among transplants or that when I introduced myself, people would share that they’ve heard of me before. It was like I was a celebrity or a legend. It made my mundane life more exciting.
But now, it’s all gone and I’m the new guy for the first time.
Tonight, I watched the movie 300 for the first time with my temporary roommate and his girlfriend. Towards the end of the movie, King Leonidas sends one of his injured soldiers back to Sparta to deliver a message to his people. It wasn’t, gather more troops, tell my family I love them, but remember us. Remember us.
A couple of months ago, on my way home from work, I was flipping through the channels on the radio in an attempt to find something to listen to in order to help loosen my stressful state. I stumbled upon a preacher who I could gather was in the crescendo of his sermon. I don’t remember much about what he spoke of that day but he made an argument that stuck with me; his argument was that one of the main ways that we can see that humanity is created in the image of God was that we have the ability to remember. When we lose our ability to remember, we lose one of the main things that make us human and reflect the brokenness of the world we currently inhabit.
In ten days, I will be beginning seminary with the aspiration of entering full-time pastoral ministry upon completion. This road I have been embarking on has not been easy. Pastoring is consistently on the list of stressful professions, and men have used the title to further their own wicked hearts; it’s not a lucrative profession, and yet, it is one of the most fulfilling and humbling tasks a man can do. I doubt Mike Rowe will dedicate an episode to this dirty job, but it’s not just a job to me. It’s a lifetime of service to Christ and his kingdom, through instruction, counseling, and emulating the One upon whom all of history hinges.
It is sad to think that there is a generation of men and women who claim Christianity as their religion but are naïve and ignorant of the histories and traditions of what makes Christianity true among false religions. I firmly believe that we cannot go into the future without knowing our past. God have mercy on us if we forget and take for granted the blood that was shed so that we could receive life. Christianity is not simply a social club or another identity that we can put on or put off as we please. It is the air we breathe, the glasses through which we view the world, it is the blood flowing through our hearts giving us life.
I am lonely because I am stripped of a community that I love very much, but I want to see them grow in their knowledge and zeal for Christ. I want to see them not only claim Christianity on Sundays or Wednesday nights but that they see how their faith affects every ounce of life they live. I want to see the boys grow to become men, the girls become women. I want to see older women show younger women what it means to be a lady, the older men exhort the young men to recapture being a gentleman. I want to see my friends get married and have babies. I want to see those in my life who profess Jesus as their Lord to use every word, thought and deed to tell others about him until their death.
I want so much, but I cannot control their hearts or minds. As much as I love to plan things, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me while I’m out here. Yet, I’m optimistic, because I am resting in the fact that God is sovereign and I am not. Sovereign is a big word that simply means God is in control over everything, which as a man filled with flaws and weakness, I am constantly aware of how little I truly have control over.
On the other hand, I cannot just sit back and let God do all the work. Instead, I am going to run with all the energy that I have stored up after the God who promises me that he will never leave me or forsake me, he loves me even when I don’t love him. It’s crazy to think that even though I am wicked and flawed, in the eyes of God, I am more loved and accepted than in the eyes of anyone else who has professed their love to me. Jesus paid the penalty for my sins, defeated sin, death and Satan, and gave me his spirit so that I might become more like him in word and in deed. This is something I hope I never forget.
So even though there are many things that I don’t know, what I do know is that God is in control over every detail–from my studies, to helping me find a job and permanent place to live, to bringing a woman into my life who will want to spend the rest of her life with me, etc and etc.
And I feel fine.