Sunday, December 30, 2012

The God of Frustration



"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways," declares YHWH.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8 & 9

Zechariah said to the angel, "How can I be sure of this?  I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."  The angel answered, "I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God...And now you will be unable to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."
Luke 1:18-20

"As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished."
Luke 1:44 & 45

Meditating on the Christmas story a few days ago, I stumbled across that word known as "Belief."  You have Zechariah and Mary both asking similar questions to Gabriel.  Off the top of my head, they both seem like legit questions to me.  Zechariah, the father of John the Baptizer, is old and his wife is passed child barring age.  Mary is a virgin, teenage girl.  How could either of those folks be expected to have a baby?

Yet, poor Zech gets the mute treatment for 9 months.  Apparently, his question had an undertone of disbelief, while Mary's did not.  I don't know.  Maybe because Zech was older, and a priest at that, he should have known better.  I mean, it's not too often an angel pays you a visit.  I suppose Mary was to young to know any better and be cynical just yet.

____________________


My walk with Jesus is at best a fitful journey.  I would imagine that I am a pain more often then not.

I also get the impression that it looks a lot like this cartoon.

I've been trying to write a book now since July.  It's almost half-way finished.  I can never tell if it's any good. (Why trust my biased opinion?) Others who have looked at it have all enjoyed it.  But they could be just humoring me.  I figure that it is either going to work, or go over like the Hindenburg.

Actual footage of my work being self-published on Amazon.

I honestly thought that I would be finished with it by now.  I had no idea how challenging this would be.  I want to be finished, finalized, DONE!

____________________

So this morning I was up early.  A few days ago I started reading Donald Miller's "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years."  I recommend it highly.  It has challenged a lot of how I think about life.  In a nut shell, it is about him having to edit his life as he was working on the screenplay for "Blue Like Jazz."  He found himself meditating on Story...the story of his life.  Everyone's life is a story.  What are we telling with them?  It made me think that at the moment my story is very boring and unfulfilling.

I want to tell a different story with my life.

Yet at the same time, God has me where I am for a reason.  I can see glimpses of it often.  However, that does not mean that I like it or trust him.

This morning as I was reading Don's book, I came across Chp.29, "The Reason God Hasn't Fixed You Yet."

"I'm convinced the most fantastical moment in story, the point when all tension is finally relieved doesn't actually happen in real life.  And I mean that seriously.  I've thought about it fifty different ways, but I can't figure out how a human life actually climaxes so that everything on the other side of a particular moment is made okay.  It happens all the time in movies and books, but it won't happen to me -- and I'm sorry to say, it won't happen to you either.

Maybe the reason we like stories so much is because they deliver wish fulfillment.  Maybe we sit in the dark and shovel sugar into our mouths because in so many stories everything is made right, and we secretly long for that ourselves."

____________________

"I have told you these things so that you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Well, at least Jesus told the truth.

But that bugs me.  Why can't God get with the program?  I want to get this book done.  I want to move on with my life.  There is so much more that I want to do with my life than the place where I am currently at.  Come on, God!  Get a move on, would ya?  I keep telling you what I want.  Gimmie, gimmie, I need, I need!

If I went to one of those name it and claim it churches, they could give me the secret code to force God to do my bidding.  I could rub my bible and he would have to grant me three wishes...the first of which would naturally be an unlimited supply of wishes.

Honestly, what's with that guy?

Perhaps what bugs me the most about Jesus is that he might know a thing or two that I don't.

____________________

My friend Mariah (Papaya) is pretty brilliant.  She is an actual writer.  She is also editing my chapters for me.  You can see her own stuff if you scroll down the right to Red. Write. Live.  She gives me a lot of homework.  It is like an afternoon of root canal.

Still, editing my writing is important.  What's more, as I do it I keep coming up with better and better ideas for these chapters.  I wish I was done, but my subconscious is glad I am not.

I have invited a variety of friends to help illustrate these chapters.  I am not looking for Rembrandt.  I am looking for clever.  If stick figures work to illustrate a point, I'm all for it.  This process has been very slow, too.  However, what has accidentally happened is that I have met more and more illustrators who may lend a hand. (It's all charity work at this point, because the best I can offer in return is some pizza.) Still, this has been interesting, too.  The more the merry as far as I am concerned.



If you are curious, the book is titled "Jesus in Minnesota."  It is essentially part Minnesota history and trivia, part theological discussion with the Messiah, and part road trip comedy.  Needless to say, it is a bit out of the ordinary.  Like I said, it's either going to work or...

All of this work is HARD work.  Along with that are the normal stressors and such of my dull existence, willfulness, stubbornness, and a fairly thankless job.  I always worry about the Sin of Presumption.  We presume that we know what God's will is all the time.  I worry about that in this instance.  However, it seems that every time I try to work on the book, Satan has a whole bunch of stuff that he throws my way to get me not to focus.  I get the feeling that this may indeed be God's will otherwise Satan would not be working overtime to distract me.

Again, maybe the Sin of Presumption.



I wish that God would get off his butt and fix all of my problems, solve my job situation and magically have me finish my book by the end of the day.  Currently, he has chosen not to do so.  Why must he frustrate me in this manner?  It's so simple.  He could snap his finger or wiggle his nose and it would all be resolved.  I would live happily ever after. (And live off of royalties.)

I do not understand this God.  He does not do my bidding.  I resent that.  I do not understand this God.  His concept of time is very different than mine.  That bugs me.  I do not understand this God.  He knows a couple of things that I do not.  I have a hard time trusting him as a result.

Gimmie, gimmie, I need, I need...I want, I want!

Then again, perhaps this is all for the best.



Peace

Joe


P.S.  More on Don Miller. (You should buy this book and read it today.)




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