These days, life seems surreal.
In a little over a month, I will finally (if nothing drastic changes) be back at Liberty University. I’ve been waiting to get back there ever since I left a year and a half ago. From as young as I can remember, I knew that LU was where I wanted to go to college. I fell in love with the campus when I took my first visit with my dad in October of 2008, and I fell in love with EVERYTHING about it when I finally started taking courses there in August of 2011.
You catch faith there, if that makes sense. You know that at the very least your professors love Christ and want to equip you to make Him known in ANYTHING you do. It’s hard to not believe that God has a great plan to use you for His glory and your good while you’re there. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why I wouldn’t even consider going to another school for pastoral training.
It’s been a long road to get back here, which is part of why I think life has felt so surreal of late. I keep asking myself if this is really happening… did I really do all of the stuff I’ve done in the past year in order to get here? Did all of that really happen? Am I really going back to Liberty in just over a month?
Yes. By the grace of God, I have done what I have done. This isn’t a dream. Soon, I’ll be back in those halls. Soon, I will see my old friends. Soon, I’ll be watching the sun set over the Blue Ridge Mountains in the West.
By the grace of God, this is all just the beginning.
Life feels surreal.
"Lastly, for the young guys who spend most of their time watching television, eating chips, and playing video games - we need you to undergo a cranial-rectal extraction immediately. As you sit around with your buddies trying to battle an enemy, liberate a people, and usher in a kingdom in yet another video game, I need you to know that you are wasting your lives. Those deep desires you have to be part of a tribe on mission to defeat evil and set captives free for the glory of a great king and kingdom are there for the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we need you on the front lines. The faithful grandmas and homeschooling moms are getting tired of holding the line."
- Pastor Mark Driscoll, A Call to Resurgence, p. 148-149
Oh, the dark and vast unknown,
Why has not the light so shone
To make your paths and questions known?
Do mortal men of flesh and bone
Always tread your path alone?
Learned men will talk and sound
As if they truly knew your ground,
But words are cheap within the mound
Of all the vast and wondrous bounds -
They say they seek, but have not found.
They can talk, but I will go -
‘Tis the only way the path is known!
To search through all the highs and lows
And help the people down below
Where darkness and injustice grows.
Give me strength to do a work
In the midst of all the mired mirk.
Give me peace to give the hurt
And drink to satisfy their rabid thirst.
Give me You to give them first!
O Lord of my fathers,
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -
O Lord of the promises,
God over all of our praises -
The people are shouting
And dancing for joy to be glad!
But I am here weeping
And crying for all that we had.
The House of the Lord,
I ministered there!
My brothers the Levites,
We ministered there!
But that House is gone,
Destroyed by our sin -
Destroyed by our foolish
Spiting of Him.
To see and to know
That House as it was!
The memories I have
Of that House as it was!
But that House is gone -
A foundation is laid
For a House that is new
Where we sing of Your grace.
And still we will weep
And still they will shout -
And Your work will be done
In spite of the sound.
Oh, the name of Jesus!
‘Tis Fount of Life so sweet
To please from mercy seat.
For Thee and joy we count as loss
What once we counted gain,
As this momentary life will pass
To ‘ternal, sweet refrain.
Oh, the name of Jesus!
Thy sovereign will hath saved
These men who were depraved.
Thou bore our sin and shame on cross
Of justice and of wrath,
To pay our debts before our God
And bring us to Your path.
Oh, the name of Jesus!
Thy joy shall never end
In the age when all is mend!
For Thou alone art our Reward!
Our joy and our glory and prize!
Thou satisfy alone, oh Lord,
Our longing and wandering eyes!
This time last year, I was making all of the final preparations to leave for my year’s worth of training and active duty commitment to join the United States Air Force.
I thought I knew exactly what to expect. My father and I had discussed the possibility of my joining the military for a long time. Little did I know what this year would actually hold in store.
There were great moments and there were sucky ones. There were days where I was motivated to perform the tasks at hand and days where the load seemed endless and impossible to accomplish. I made good friends and missed good friends back home.
And if I learned anything from all of this, aside from the countless little things that I’ve learned along the way, it’s that God is always always always faithful even when I am totally and completely and absolutely faithless. He kept me and sustained me. Just like He always has and always will.
Not only was there that, but there was the tangible support of all of my friends and family. How can I ever thank everyone who sent me a letter, gave me an encouraging phone call, prayed for me, texted me, sent me a care package… the love was, and still is, overwhelming.
There’s so much more I want to write, stories I want to tell… but (maybe) I’ll write those later.
For now, I’m just feeling overwhelmingly thankful. This life may be a shadow and the dark may be heavy, but it has its moments of beauty and glory that point us to the one who is most beautiful and glorious.
Thank you, Jesus.
everything that i’ve done
it can’t be for nothing
I don’t normally reblog things in general, and I especially don’t reblog things about shows/games/fanstuffs, but this… what an beautiful collage of two of my favorite fictional characters of all time.
I pray for peace -
I pray for this to end,
Petition God to make it cease
And find some other way.
Oh Jesus, lift this dark
And let another take this place.
But like Israel in Egypt,
And Jeremiah in the well -
Like Jesus in Gethsemane,
And Paul within a prison cell -
This darkness must not lift
Sometimes, life hands you some real disappointments. They come in all shapes and sizes. Disappointing jobs. Disappointing education. Disappointing game of football. Disappointing decision by a loved one, on and on and on.
Sometimes, though, life doesn’t just hand you disappointments - it sucker punches you in the face with them. You have your hope set greatly on something, and then WHACK! You’re down on your face trying to catch your breath and recover from the blow. You can’t go back to your dream college this year. You’re not going home when you thought you were. You’ve accumulated too much debt. She has cancer.
And me? Well, I’ve had a couple of disappointments recently. Both the kind that just get handed to you, and the kind that knock the breath out of you.
I write a lot to deal with just about everything in my life. In the past few years it’s been a lot of music and quite a few journals. There’s nothing quite like sitting with my Martin and creating melodies to help me put expressions to how I’m handling things. I’ve been writing a lot of music these days.
So what’s the point I’m getting at, anyway? This post is kind of helter-skelter. I hardly use Tumblr. Heck, I hardly blog or post text on the internet at all these days.
Well, I guess I just want to say (in a kind of stream-of-consciousness way with hardly any real structure) that I think life can be pretty disappointing sometimes. Sometimes it feels like the renewal that Jesus continually offers will never arrive. Sometimes I don’t desire God at all. Sometimes I get really angry. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve walked where God has wanted me to.
But, in the end, He’s always faithful, even in the disappointments. I’m just waiting, as I often do, for everything to come back into focus. It’s taking a little longer than usual, but in the end, that’s okay.
Now, I’m going back to my Martin. I was secretly hoping that doing this would help me out with a writer’s block. We’ll see.