Week 3: Peace

So, I’d sort of been puzzling over what to say for this week’s post.  I was contemplating writing about how I’m looking at transferring to an in-state school next year for financial and personal concerns, how it’s like doing last year all over again, how I’m trying to seek God’s wisdom, will, and peace through the process.  Funny thing, though, the past couple days are the first time I’ve really started to feel at home in St. Louis.

But this afternoon, I realized what I needed to talk about.  I’ve been contemplating quitting my job as a ref for intramural sports since December.  In the fall, I reffed women’s soccer, which was fine, but right now I’m doing men’s basketball, which poses some respect issues, to put it lightly.  In addition, I’m working ten to fifteen hours a week in a lab (unpaid until March, but I love the lab, the people in the lab, and everything I’m learning), which makes it difficult to schedule ref shifts.  I’m also not a very good ref (or scorekeeper), which makes it more difficult to overcome the respect problem.  Another important aspect is that I feel that I can do a better job if I pour myself fully into just a few things, rather than spreading myself out so much.  Some people can multitask very effectively, but for me, I need to dedicate large chunks of time to focusing intensely on just one thing to be most efficient.  Essentially, the only thing that was holding me back from quitting was the fact that having money at any given time is rather useful, especially when pursuing moderately expensive hobbies, like running/racing.  (Then again, at least it’s not skiing, or hockey, or golf, or something like that.)

God reminded me that He has everything in control.  Earlier this week, I discovered that I’d been refunded twice by an online company for a return of a Christmas present I’d bought for someone.  Normally, I would call customer service and get everything straightened out, but this particular transaction is already so messy that I have no desire to touch it again.  It was a little more than forty dollars–not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but for me, in the short term, that’s a lot of money.  I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with the money: perhaps keep it, perhaps give it to my church back home or some charitable organization if I was feeling particularly ethical.  Then, today, I was helping at a carnival after church that benefits one of the college ministries in which I participate.  I was standing with about five of my friends getting ready to go back to campus, when I looked down and saw a ten dollar bill on the floor.  I asked all my friends if they had dropped it, but they all denied it.  I said out loud, “What the heck?  Why does money literally keep falling into my lap?”  My friends asked what I meant, and I explained about the refund.  One of my friends–and I honestly don’t remember who–said, in an only slightly trite tone, “Maybe it’s God taking care of you because He knows you don’t have work for the next four weeks.”  (I’d mentioned my conundrum to them earlier).  And it’s crazy, but I think they’re right.  Through these two incidents, God has given me peace about my decision to quit my job reffing.

I don’t intend on needing the money, but if I do, I know it’s there.  It’s like an interest-free loan from God.  (Well, everything we have is a loan from God, but this just seems…different.)  And this afternoon, that’s how I decided to treat it.  If I need to spend it, I will.  But if I don’t, when I go back home for church over spring break, I will give it back to God via the “fifth Sunday”/deacons’ fund.  I’m not saying this to boast about how ethical or generous I am–the Bible is explicit about not doing that.  I’m saying this so that I may be held accountable, and because I want to share how amazing God’s providence and care is.  The verse that comes to mind is that which talks about how God cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field–and how much more He cares for us, even in our tiniest, most inconsequential “needs”.

There’s an old hymn my mother used to sing to me (she would read one Bible story, sing one hymn, and read the background story of the hymn every night before I went to bed, up until I was about twelve) that also comes to mind.

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.

No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.

I pray that God would give me His peace not only when the signs are clear and life is good, but also when the waters are murky and life is dark.

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