Wednesday, January 15, 2014

God's Way is Best

I was reading in Jeremiah 42 today, and was struck with something in this chapter. I'm no Bible scholar, but here's my take on it.

So, the Israelites have been taken into captivity and are living in Babylon. God is now promising the Israelites a way home from their captivity, and not only that but He further promises that He'll bless them, provide for them, bring them home to a free land, their land. Sounds great! One would think that they would be jumping at this wonderful opportunity...wouldn't we all? Apparently however, that isn't the case.

After all these wonderful-can't-turn-them-down promises, God goes on to warn the Israelites to not go to Egypt. Egypt??? Wait a second, why would anyone want to go there? What's in Egypt? Why would they want to go back to Egpyt (a land where'd they'd previously been enslaved!) when God is clearly promising them a free ticket and glorious ride back to Israel? Why do they not want to take God at His word, and accept His wonderful promises? Why would they not want to return to the promised land?

I don't know, but I bet we still do those types of things to God today. There's a passage in Galatians 4:1-9 which seems to touch on this, talking about how we are no longer slaves to the world, but children of God! Why would we, with the opportunity of an adoption from the best Father you could ever have, want to return to bondage, to slavery of sin, and of the world? I love how it is all summed up in verse 9:
"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (KJV)

God only ever wants the best for us. Sure, His best isn't always the easy way (at least, not at first glance), but it is the way filled with His care, His blessings, and His rewards for those who diligently trust and follow Him.  May I go to the promised land, following His lead and direction, instead of stubbornly pining for Egypt.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Skiing Lessons=Great Premarital Counseling

   Last night I went skiing for the very first time. Having never been on skis before in my life I admit that I started out very poorly by falling flat on my face within the first five seconds. Everyone else on the top of the mountain seemed like such a pro (even the little kids!), and for about the first hour and a half I felt like I was back in the city of Poughkeepsie learning how to drive a standard again. Ever been that person? Yeah, I know, it's terrible.

   Anyway, I did skiing lessons totally backwards than the normal person does. Chris started me on the top of the mountain (instead of the bunny hill), and needless to say, it was a very rough trip down. He was an angel, so patient and encouraging, and had the perfect balance of encouragement and toughness, not letting me give up, and making me go all the way (ok fine, 95% of the way) down the mountain. It was a pretty horrible experience actually, but somehow I managed it with only a couple mini-meltdowns, and only announcing a couple of times that I really hated skiing, instead of really hating Chris! Furthermore, once we got to the bottom of the mountain and found out that there was not only a bunny hill, but also a novice hill I managed to not get mad at him for making me "jump in the deep end" first.

   Due to long distance and other complications, Chris and I hadn't started any premarital counseling yet, but I found that last night was probably equal to, or even greater than a few sessions of that. Having to follow my fearless leader down a mountain with some crazy poles on my feet, having no idea what in the world I was doing, and constantly falling flat on my face, was probably one of the biggest ways to practice trusting him and following his lead, and not giving up when I really wanted to. For him it was probably great to have to be patient with me, gentle, and encouraging, seeing my clumsiness, my emotional side, taking control of the situation, and solving the "problem". I guess in a sense it was definitely a relationship tester, and I'm happy to say that we definitely passed.

    So, next time you feel the need to test your relationship with your fiance, you should go skiing too! And as a side note, once I got on the novice hill (where I belonged) I had a great time, and figured out that skiing is really, really fun! Pretty intense and scary, but really, really fun none-the-less!