At Summer’s End

Image“For everything there is a season…”(Eccl. 3:1, ESV) says the pensive writer of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament.  What did he mean as he went on to list opposite times for everything we do in this short human life?  Surely I found out some of what he meant this summer.  Nine weeks have passed by at a relatively steady pace with more memories than I care to remember, and I have been observing personal time with the Lord Jesus almost everyday.  I started off with a steady reading of 2 Chronicles, and now I have completed up to Nehemiah.  Prayer also has been refreshing and restoring because for the first time in a long time I have been able to converse with God clearly.

I have also been reading Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  All quotes unless otherwise noted are from this book.  I enjoy this book so much that I feel like I am with Mr. Bonhoeffer in the Nazi prison cell, but I can see the beauty of his freedom in Christ displayed in his letters to his family and friends.  With that being said here are some things I learned and reflected on this summer that by God’s grace I will carry into the next year of teaching, learning, and serving the Lord.

1. “The wish to be independent in everything is false pride.” – Solitude, true solitude, is very good for a season, but time spent in fellowship with others and learning to share burdens with others is a part of living in Christian community.  It is also an evidence of salvation that we would love our fellow Christians and not forsake meeting together weekly.  And hopefully more than just Sunday.

2.  Rest.  Rest is necessary for survival, and every good soldier knows when to sleep.  I devoted this summer to recuperating, renewing, and restoring my mind and body back to full capacity.  Partly by recreation and partly by relaxation.  The word blessing sometimes feels inadequate to describe the freedoms I have tasted and the miraculous provision of God these past few weeks.

3. “It is presumptuous to want to have everything at once” and “But gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.  The beauties of the past are borne, not as a thorn in the flesh, but as a precious gift in themselves.” – this one is for multiple people I met this summer during ministry events and mission work.  The times we had together were valuable; the conversations enduring.  The lessons I learned from you and because of you were in a sense “eternal” because they pointed me back to the Scriptures and trust in the Father.  I am thankful for you and because of your friendship.  Thank you.

4. Lastly, I am now confidently in my calling.  The process was sometimes arduous to get here, and more often than not the path was unsure, but each decision led to this moment as I go back to work with my students, co-workers, and fellow seminary companions.  I have become a young minister, and my thoughts seem more like the Lord’s thoughts each day though not without the setbacks and challenges of the flesh of course.  This is not the end though, but rather a time to rejoice now that my personal valleys are finished for a season.

On a final note about being called I would like to say that the truth is we don’t even know what will happen tomorrow, so I can’t predict anything except for what’s happening right now.  God lays certain skills and tasks and opportunities in front of us to complete.  Right now I will try to complete seminary, but in the future other doors may open to the mission field full time. We shall see.  Until then though let’s carry on together, and I hope you will continue to walk along with me down pilgrims’ tracks.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Letters and Papers from Prison. New York: Macmillan, 1972. Print.

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One Week After Honduras

One week after being in Honduras for a second time I have come to realize a few things that have very little to do with missions or Honduras ironically enough, so hopefully you will forgive my cryptic ramblings:Image

1. Life does not flash before your eyes when you die, but rather while you are still living.

I can barely remember my time there currently because to be honest I was distracted daily to no end.  Surely God was testing me to see if I would give Him everything even under intense emotional pressure. Genesis 22 comes to mind.  We faithfully did the work we were called to do during the 8 days in country, but I feel that we only broke the surface of true lasting relationships.  Because of that my confession is that I cannot bear personally to go on another 1 week trip.  I’d rather go for a longer stay next time is what I’m trying to say.  Don’t get me wrong though.  There is still a place and a reason for quality short term mission trips in the church life, but my personal calling is for long term and I am going to steer towards that as the next years of my life carry on.

2.  Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
Enough said about that.  Especially dangerous on mission trips when you are far from home.

3. Shulammite is an incredible name(perhaps derived from Jerusalemite, or from Salem the word for peace in Hebrew), but few women live up to that standard of faithfulness in this day and age. Song of Songs 6:13

4. “Don’t waste your life” and “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.”

We all have within our daily choices the ability to turn back to God in reverential fear, humble repentance, and courageously unabashed candor.  Don’t waste time wondering about what ifs and “coulda shoulda wouldas”.  Life is more than your personal satisfaction all of the time.

5. Lastly- “The sweet is never as sweet without the bitter” and “Es tan corto el amor y tan largo el olvido”

Most of us can admit that we know the exquisite pain of the bitter trials in this life, but what great hope we have that there will no longer be any pain or regret in heaven when all of our faculties are consumed by Jesus’ glorious wonders and power.

That’s the only thing that gets me through some days – the promise of reward on the other side of this life.

Yours truly,
Pilgrim