Tomorrow is my last full day with my grandparents, and Saturday I fly back to Southern California. It would be a lie if I said I wish I could stay a little longer, but I will be leaving with some life lessons that were completely worth receiving by spending this month with my grandparents.
For one thing, I am learning that no matter how miserable I feel about my circumstances and where I am at a given time in my life, God is always there in the midst of it all and He has special treasures to give if I just ask. I think that's a big part of what Paul discovered when he wrote that he had learned how to be content in whatever situation he was in, whether in lack or abundance, high or low (Philippians 4:12).
I've learned what quiet horrors age, time, and disease can do in this life. But that God gives humor in abundance where there really should only be anger and tears. And I now thank God for the tremendous blessing He gave that when sin was let into paradise, which has now become this world, He didn't allow people to live forever on top of that. It also makes me wonder why we think church and speaking about God should be taken so seriously. I think God's gift of humor is one of the biggest weapons He has given us; humor, joy, and thanksgiving in the face of a bleak, depressed, evil world. Satan must be the most serious, depressing, and frustrated character in the entire universe. If he wasn't so evil, I might even feel a little sorry for him. I mean seriously! He's so bent on destruction - steal, kill, and destroy, all because he didn't get his way and now he wants to ruin it for everybody else. It's like an epic sized tantrum fit. And when I see the devil like that, I'm floored by the the sheer cheekiness and brilliance of God who gave His kids the ability to laugh in his sad face and say, no matter what you throw at me to try to take me out, I'm God's and He is so brilliant and better than you that He's going to take even your pathetic attempts at destroying me and turn those into blessings for my good. :)
And that is why we can always come to Him with thanksgiving on our lips, no matter the circumstances. God is alive. He's intimately aware of the details of my life, and cares about them. He promises the worldly impossible. And He is wholly good. Even in my darkest moments it is hard for me to understand how anyone would choose another religion or to believe in nothing at all instead of accept Jesus Christ. What else gives you any hope? Even if you weren't sure He even existed, wouldn't you want Him to? I heard a Christian and an atheist debating recently, and the Christian said that for someone who had been hungry who found an endless supply of food, that they would want to share this with others they saw starving. And the atheist said, "But that's just it! I'm not hungry!" I find this very hard to conceive. Living in this world without the hope of Jesus Christ would for me be entirely unbearable.
This month I have found hope that God is with me even in my biggest puddles of self pity and despair; and that they never last forever. And they can clear up a lot quicker if I go run to Him in those moments with praise and thanksgiving. That it's like love, you don't always feel like giving it, but when you do, your feelings change accordingly in time and that that's probably one of the biggest reasons He wants us to do it in the first place. It's one of those "for our own good" things.
And I also think that I just might know what to do next now...
I am scheduled to meet with some faculty and staff at Azusa Pacific University this upcoming Monday to discuss applying for their Master of Science in College Counseling and Student Development program!