You Don’t Need Jesus ‘Til You’re Here

Yesterday was meltdown number one in the series of meltdowns I am expecting in the next week. You see, I am taking Step 2 in a week; I am scrambling to find somewhere to do elective rotations; the residency application site has officially opened. And I am prepared for so little of it. So yesterday I found myself running across the city, trying to get some of my boxes checked off and trying to force some peace of mind. But the more I tried to “fix” what wasn’t going according to plan, the more my head buzzed. I was feeling helpless and freaked out, and I didn’t know where to turn, when I finally decided there really was only one thing that I could do in my situation: pray. So cliché, I know, but one hour, one WWI Memorial, and a couple Bible chapters later, my mind finally started to quiet down for the first time in a month.

How familiar does this sound? For me, it’s a story I’ve lived over and over.

We run to God when things are going crazy. We look for a Problem-solver when we find ourselves in desperation. But what about when things are going well? What about when everything finally seems to be in place? It is incredibly easy to forget about God when things in life are running smoothly, and to only look for Him when there’s a hitch in our plans.

I spoke to you in your prosperity,
But you said, ‘I will not hear.’
This has been your manner from your youth,
That you did not obey My voice.

(Jeremiah 22:21)

How many of us does this sound like?

It’s great that we run to God when things aren’t going well. It’s a step in the right direction when we recognize our own weakness and where our strength comes from. The problem is when we forget all this because of how well things are going.

Our relationship with God is just that: a relationship. You know that saying, “a friend in need is a friend indeed”? Who came up with that? Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who only hangs around when he needs something? Who would put up with that friend? Not many of us do. And yet we are that friend constantly. We show up at church or finally open our Bibles when something isn’t going according to plan in our lives, and the moment the problem is solved, the Bible goes back on the shelf. Can you imagine how much that has to hurt? The one Person who has been present in all parts of our lives, the One who was beat up, spat upon, wounded and killed out of His incredible love for us, watches as we decide we no longer need Him because “I can handle life on my own.”

But here’s the good news. Jesus tells us, “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). We have left. We have betrayed. But just as God accepted Israel after Israel played the harlot, He will accept us.

I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the LORD.

(Hosea 2:19-20)

Here is one of the many examples of when we betray, and He forgives. No matter how many times we have run away, no matter how many times we depended on ourselves or sought after someone else, when we come back we will be accepted.

It’s time to stop being a friend in need and to start being a friend indeed.

Advertisements

Why Am I Awake?

Restless night. Sleepless night. It’s 1:30 in the morning, and I can’t seem to fall asleep. I need to be awake in 4 hours to catch a flight, and yet my mind refuses to shut down.
Dealing with my restless self is like dealing with an infant who won’t stop crying despite all your efforts, and you just can’t figure out what it wants. The absolute worst.

Why am I so restless? Why is my mind filled with so many things? Why am I feeling so unsettled?

In a conversation with my mom earlier this evening, I realized that I’m falling back into a pattern I unfortunately know too well. I am trusting in myself. I am forgetting about where my trust is supposed to lie. I have Step 2 coming up. I have life-altering decisions to make. I have people demanding my attention. I have distractions pulling my heart every which way. And through all of this I am relying on myself to sort through the mess. No wonder I’m struggling to find peace. No wonder I can’t sleep.

There are so many things I am feeling and wanting to express, but I don’t know how to deal with it. No words seem to suffice. No emotion seems to encompass the struggle inside my heart. And maybe it’s because what is happening isn’t something I can fully understand.

Romans 8 talks about the Holy Spirit making “intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” and how He “helps us in our weaknesses” (v. 26). I can’t put my finger on what is bothering me, but I know I don’t feel right. But the Holy Spirit inside of me knows, and He is ready to intercede on my behalf, if I would just let Him. I am too focused on checking off my boxes and completing all my tasks. I am too dependent on myself that He doesn’t have a chance to speak on my behalf and give me the rest I need.

We all know the classic “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28) and “Cast your burden on the LordAnd He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).
But really how easy is it for us to just let go? How many of us are truly willing to lay down our burdens, to cast all our cares on Someone else? When it comes down to it, I like to cling as tight as I can to my burdens because in my own psychotic way I think I have control over them when, in fact, they are controlling me.

It isn’t easy to hand over the reigns, to pass on the torch, to lose “control”. But if we don’t let go, where will we end up? We will be burnt out. We will be anxious and depressed. We will be lost and scared drowning in all the cares we refused to give to the One who can help us be found and refreshed and full of peace.

So I think it’s about time I lose control. How about you?

Take Me Deeper

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
(“Oceans” – Hillsong United)

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

The last month God has been answering this one for me. I’d been listening to it constantly, on repeat, no other music, asking God to please take me deeper and lead me to where I could trust Him fully.
And He answered.
And it hurt.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

It isn’t always easy. It doesn’t always happen the way you think it will. When you ask God, He will answer. It’s how He answers that may be harder than you expect.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

I don’t want to hash out all the details for the whole world to see, but I will share a little bit of what my life has been like the last month.
Wave after wave after wave have been hitting me, beating me down. When I finally become ready to start accepting what life is throwing my way, another one knocks me down.
Had you asked me how things were two months ago, I would have said stupendously! I would have told you how great God was and how He was working out everything so perfectly in my life. My psych rotation was lax. My relationships were flourishing. I felt confident about myself. I still had my Kenya high.
Everything seemed perfect.

But then things started to go the other direction. I started my surgery rotation which left me with no energy. Problems began to arise in almost all my relationships. My grandmother–my best friend and warrior–was hospitalized and needed surgery on her heart. I started feeling hopeless and helpless.
Things were no longer perfect.
Things were far from perfect.
Things were hard.
Things are hard.

But ask me now how great God is.
In the midst of this crazy, stressful, heartbreaking, far-from-perfect life of mine, God is still great.
It may have taken some time for me to remember that. It may have taken weeks of fighting with Him.
But in the end, God is still great. God is still good.

He answered my prayer. He continues to do so. He is leading me deeper into the water than I could have gone myself. He is teaching me to trust Him more than I could teach myself.

Things suck right now. I won’t lie and say how easy of a process it is, because it’s not. But I know that He is working in me more than I realize. And I know that if I didn’t fully submit to His will for me, He could never complete this work to make me perfect.

 

Take My Heart Rebuild It, My Soul Reignite It

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting [restoring] the soul -Psalm 19:7

How often do I pray and beg for God to restore my soul? How often do I say that I need a change of heart? How about every time I pray the conclusion of every hour–“sanctify my soul”? I say I want all of these things, but when it comes down to it, what am I doing on my end to obtain it?

Like everything else, grace comes from God. In the end, it’s all impossible without God’s grace. And like everything else, there’s a teeny tiny part for me to do as well. This verse is giving me the answer: “the law of the LORD…restoring the soul”. What does this mean to me? The law of God, His statutes, His testimonies, they will enable me to change my soul, to restore it to glory.

This is not just not committing adultery or not lying or stealing. This is the law that should be present in my everyday life–my canon–my spiritual rule. The only way to keep the connection open to receive God’s grace is by carrying out my spiritual rule.
For those of you who have been following me since my old blog, you know I love this topic. For everyone else, or even if you’d like to refresh yourself on what a spiritual rule entails, click here to read more. 

The only way to expect a restoration, a change in the desires of my heart, is by keeping the connection open. After all, isn’t that why nothing could get me down in Kenya? Anytime there was a hint of sadness creeping in, I ran to my Bible, I leaped to my agpeya. Never has my communication with Papa been stronger. The last few months, I’d personally been slack. I blamed it on my boards examination, and although that really isn’t a good excuse, boards are over. God blessed me with this huge revival the last couple weeks, and it’s time to build on it, not sink back into laziness.

So it’s time to make every day a Kenyan day. Once I do this, my words and my heart’s desires will truly be acceptable in the eyes of the Lord:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer (v. 14).

I will leave you with a link to my good friend’s song inspiring the title of this post:

Give Me Your Sandwich

I found this video very interesting as someone going into the medical profession, but also as a future tax-paying citizen. I’ll be honest I have a hard time following the politics behind healthcare and Obamacare and what have you.
Disclaimer: I do believe everyone is entitled to health care, but from what I hear, Obama hasn’t figured out the right way to do it yet.
This is a good food for thought.

http://safeshare.tv/w/VoDMsZIpqC

Image

I May Sound Silly to Me and Everyone Else…

There are few mornings where I will pray my agpeya out loud. It’s unfortunate, because that’s the best way to do it. I’m usually rushing myself to finish so I can start studying and prepare for another day of doom (that is, pharmacology).

Today was an out-loud kind of day for me. And I’ll be honest, I’m no Ibrahim Ayad. In fact, I do not sound good. Those of you who know me know that I don’t have the worst voice in the world, but man when it comes to putting a tune to the psalms or the Gospel reading, hoo-wee! I sound like a dying animal to myself!

And yet, I still do it. I still pray out loud when I can, and even though I’m making my ears bleed, it still makes me so joyful. There is a level of peace that comes with praying the agpeya, but then there’s a whole other level of peace that comes with praying it with the elongated, meaningful tunes (accurate or not).

I very highly recommend you try it! It’s wonderful, guaranteed, or your money back! (Not that you’ve paid me anything, but even if you did, you wouldn’t want it back).