March 20, 2012

blessed, & we don't deserve it

i've been thinking a lot lately. well, more than usual. thinking about freedom, opportunity, and how stinking blessed we are to live where we do.

maybe it was the KONY 2012 that triggered these thoughts.
maybe it's this summer's mission trip to a religiously oppressed country.
maybe it's just the Holy Spirit nudging me toward something bigger.

my life is average, i'd say. i'm a college student living in a studio apartment dating the man i hope to marry one day and working part-time to get through school. it's not extravagant. it's not lavish. all around me friends are getting engaged, married, are graduating, or are moving away. i'm here, and i plan on staying for a little while still. i'm like every other student who's counting down the days to Spring Break and isn't paying attention in class whatsoever. in fact, as i type, my professor is rambling on about i-don't-know-what.

lately though, i've been hearing a lot about power, about pressing on toward greater things. and i think i've caught that bug. a few weeks ago, pastor Dave spoke on God's power - a characteristic that we all too often ignore. we focus on His love, His grace, His forgiveness and completely miss that He is also all-knowing and all-powerful. maybe it's because we live in a culture that we can control. we wake up expecting to go through our day as we plan it, eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, go to church on Sunday, and fall asleep again under our stable roofs. to us, that's normal. we are raised by our parents, knowing that they will always be there. we take them for granted and become teenagers. we grow up and [grudgingly] go to school every day. we graduate high school and expect to start college. we build relationships, hope to marry one day, and then raise a family of our own. and most importantly, we hope to please God with our lives. but how do we do that? what does that even mean?

i've been going about my day-to-day tasks lately, amazed at how much freedom i have and how much stability my life offers me. in the simplest ways, i am protected. i live in a country where i can expect the police to actually help. i can go to a public restroom and expect a toilet, a sink, and toilet paper. i can drive throughout town expecting that everyone around me follows the same driving rules as i do. i can go to work, knowing that i am protected from my boss and protected by the government through laws and health codes. i'm an American, and i have rights.

it almost sounds silly for me to mention all those seemingly trivial things. you know what? i think it's ignorant not to recognize them. i read a leadership training manual a few days ago where a Kenyan pastor described his perception of American missionaries. it was summed up like this: everyone knows about America. America knows about no one but themselves. it might be a stereotypical generalization, but if you really think about it, it's true. we know that everyone knows about us, and we do life and go on mission trips and travel around expecting that. and we don't care about them. we don't come down to their level.

none of this is meant to guilt us. i don't feel guilty about it all - but it begs the question: why am i here?

i didn't do anything to deserve the family i have.
i didn't do anything to deserve to live in the United States of America.
i didn't do anything to deserve a public education.
i didn't do anything to deserve the friendships and relationships i have.
i didn't do anything to deserve a life in a country that is filthy rich and disgustingly blessed.

yet, the Lord has placed me here - so why?

our generation today is a young generation of movers and shakers who are all pushing on toward greater things. we are a generation with influence and impact. we possess incredible knowledge and have instant access to an ocean of resources. so how do i fit into that?

there is something bigger than all of this. until that's revealed to me, i plan on being faithful in the little things, faithful in the things God has placed in my life right now, opportunities He's given me, and responsibilities He's placed on me.

Jesus was a radical man. He did not live carefully. His life was not contained in a box. and i am called to be like Him - in fact, the Bible tells me that i will do even greater things because He lives in me. do i believe that? do i live life empowered? do i act like i belong to the Almighty? because i do. and so do you.

there is something bigger out there. there's a restlessness inside me, and yet, there is also peace, because i know that my life is in His hands. every day, i pray He would draw us nearer to Him.

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