Thursday, March 31, 2016


Alaska. I might, possibly, depending on a few unanswered questions, have an opportunity to go to Alaska. Not just to Alaska, but an isolated island to spend the summer helping a well-established author. I would even meet other authors. It’s a childhood dream of going to the frontier as a pioneer mixed with a current dream of connecting with and meeting authors who could guide me. (Did I mention Mountains? I want to be near mountains…). I wasn’t looking for it. It landed in my lap and sent my heart pounding and my mind rolling. Forget the fact that I might not be able to do this, I was excited.

I was excited.

I haven’t been really excited in a long time. Just the idea of something beautiful and filling was making me happy. And just being happy and excited made me more excited because I was dreaming. This could happen in just two months. Forget homework, forget sleep, my mind circled around and around the idea imagining standing by my two favorite sceneries, ocean and mountains, my unedited novel ready to receive some loving care  even as I journalled descriptions for the sequel, which co-incidentally is about people isolated on a small island… I could go to one. Did I mention I had just prayed about that childhood dream of a living museum? This was a dream beyond a dream.

And then I realized. I have a dream… But I have a bigger dream.

We will kneel at our Savior’s feet.

The one whose resurrection just celebrated, the one whose death saved us, the one who made beauty and mountains and stories in the first place. Him. We will get to spend eternity with Him.  As sure as it is that I will graduate (which right now feels very doubtful), no, more sure than the promise I will be handed a diploma on May 7,  the certainty of God’s physical Kingdom covering the Earth is sealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

He will come and judge the living and the dead. And in that judgment, for those who confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, repent of their sins and chose to follow God, intimacy will be the result. Not the sometimes emptying kind of intimacy, the filling kind. Our adoption will be complete. We will be family with Christ and we will rule with him.

All beauty deepens in the chance to step into God’s presence. Colors will deepen, the awe of mountains will grow because we will be looking at their creator, who is so, so much bigger. We will be on our knees in worship. I won’t just be in the presence of a man who happens to have intelligence, I will be in the arms of the one who is the source wisdom.

In this hope, we don’t have to say “if God wills it.” He does. This is hope. We have a happy “ending.” It is not a scary one without life or color. It does not mean that we will be bored, no we will finally be satisfied. Our restless days will be calm. Our empty longings will be filled. The definition of intimacy will be found as we settle into who we were supposed to be. We will be, and are today, in the presence of the most holy, famous, powerful person who ever existed.

And we wait, with eager, active expectation for the world to be set right.

This is hope. Not dreams in possibilities, but certainty in the spectacular.

Friday, March 18, 2016

When God provides

“God is telling me He’s got this.” My friend sits behind a desk and computer, a little overwhelmed with the tasks before her.  A little overwhelmed by the fact that she is nowhere near half way to her support due in a few days. There are six dollars in my wallet. Six. My debit card is finally working, and I have no excuse for not going to the ATM machine on campus, but at the moment, I only have six dollars in my wallet. 

                The excitement in her voice as she tells how God’s provided becomes my focus, but my heart is somewhere listening. Give. I try to remember if my laundry card has money on it, will I be able to wash my clothes? Give. I think I can do it later...after the weekend is over, after I get more cash at the store. Give. What about…Give. I remember the woman who took me to lunch yesterday, who spent much more money than I ever would have spent on myself to feed me and challenge me to follow God. Give. I pull out my wallet, find the larger of the two bills and throw it on the keyboard. “Jennifer…that is not why I am telling you this story. No.”

                I shake my head. “I know it wasn’t. But God told me to.” (We will not mention that we just spent the better of two hours in class two days ago discussing whether or not God actually tells us what to do with decisions and just go with the fact that sometimes you know it’s the Holy Spirit and not emotion.)
                She rounds the desk and gives me a hug.

                After I finally got home for my nap, I flipped onto facebook and was surprised to see my co-worker was on campus. I needed to go say hi. As much as I wanted to avoid people or another migraine, or anything of the sort, I knew I needed to go. Sighing, I shade my eyes from the sunlight as I walk back across campus, berating myself for not procuring sunglasses to at least help. I speak with her and her daughter. The eighteen-year-old girl I’m meeting for the first time has my full respect and I wonder if she knows that. Finally,  I can go home to peace and quiet. I say good-bye, give hugs and start to walk away when my co-worker calls me. “Jennifer, wait.” She leads me out of the cafeteria and opens her wallet. “I still wanted to…” I try to protest.

                She had wanted to buy me groceries. I had conveniently forgotten to send her the grocery list. Not so much because I don’t need them…but because her financial state is so much more precarious than mine, and she has to feed three children.  “Nobody knows I’m doing this.” As if that mattered to me. I don’t care if anyone knows, I want her to be safe. I try not to watch what number bills she pulls out, not wanting to know how much, but the bills drop to the ground and I see it is more than I want to accept. I don't really need it and I don't want to admit the fears this is beginning to calm. 

           God doesn’t let us choose who to let help us. He doesn't let us decide whether or not we're in need.  

                A friend’s friend is asking why if he has given faithfully, God has not returned. I don’t know. For three years my parents and I searched for a home appropriate for our family on the mission-field with consistently failed results. Why didn’t God give a house if we were willing to give our lives? I don’t know.

                But why does God give at all?