With only one more week of school left, I found myself overwhelmed--by how crisp it's getting outside when it was in the 80s just the other day; by how much I still have to get done, by how badly I had to use the ladies' room (again within a matter of minutes--silly coffee); by how quickly time has flown by; and by how on August 26th, I had experienced a great sense of awe and wonder at the thought of the mightiness and greatness and the intricacies of God that i'm experiencing again in the same class today.
It's been about 16 weeks since my first semester of grad school started. I remember sitting in my first class and experiencing a feeling of great warmth as tears welled up in my eyes as the teacher opened up the class time with prayer. This may sound strange, but I had spent 4 1/2 years acquiring and applying knowledge at a secular campus prior to this experience where my encounters with God at school were not so blatant and forthright (I don't mean to say that I didn't see Him there--He was there, alright :)). Here, I wasn't inviting God into my class, into my studies and into the of these materials seemingly alone. This was my first encounter, since my last experience as a senior in high school (at a time when I didn't appreciate it nearly enough), that a teacher was caring for me as a student in aspects of spiritual as well as professional development.
It really does feel like I just started a few days ago, but so much has happened since the end of August. Countless ups and downs, sprinkled with smatterings of both expected and unexpected changes--all through which I kept on being reminded that I was truly loved and fully pursued by God. Mind you, this wasn't always at the forefront of my mind or my heart. In fact, sometimes it took mildly deep lows to bring me back to this truth. This semester has been marked by great breakthroughs, times of numbness, as well as times of wrestling with what I know as true and what my flesh is inclined to without the power of the Holy Spirit. It has been stamped with times of astounding joy and speechlessness as I was overwhelmed by God's beyond skillful orchestration of my life. I have been blown away by His provision, but in the midst of acknowledging Him, I've also been deeply disappointed with the posture of my heart. Too quickly inclined to choose myself before I choose Him. Immediately reminded by His grace as opposed to a spirit of condemnation. These thoughts with many others swirled around my brain--the ones worthy holding on to, traveling sometimes rapidly and other times a bit more slowly to my heart where they now reside and will hopefully continue to be cultivated.
More than anything else, I have been shown and reminded of my immense and undeniable need for our God. The most striking reminder is that I need Him for every breath that comes into my nose and out of my breath. He sustains my everything. Deep breaths become more and more powerful with that thought in mind. Not only does He sustain my everything, He is everything. It's all about Him. this story is His story, and we are vehicles--honored and chosen vehicles to demonstrate His grace and His character. We are made in the image of Almighty God. We were created to receive His revelation, to integrate that into our lives and to be changed more and more into the very likeness of Him.
"I'm taking this class because God's been revealing Himself to me through the Old Testament, and I really just want to see more." That's what I told my professor when he asked us why we were taking the OT Survey class. Needless to say, that happened. He is in every word, on every page, and repeatedly reveals himself despite the shortcomings of the people we encounter in the respective books of the Old Testament (Good for us, right? Despite our shortcomings, HE will be made known). All scripture is revelatory because our God is a revelatory God. He showed up the first day of class when I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, every day in between and today as I was over-caffeinated and a lot more than just a little bit tired.
Psalm 34:8 says "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Whenever I read this verse, I think "Yes! I have tasted and He is good!" Though, what has come to me over and over in the past few months. God gives His children access to an ever-increasing, sensitive taste palate. The first taste is WOW/Whoa!!, and the next taste can be even WOW-er/WHOAAA!!!, etc... Using those terms probably isn't doing this justice, but there aren't the right words, you know? There will always be more of God's goodness to be tasted--to be beheld and internalized and transformed by. We don't deserve it! My mind spins when I think about this.
I don't know how to end my thoughts. They've seemed all of the place since the beginning of this entry. The only thing that seems appropriate is embodied by a sound that is often packed with a meaning of great satisfaction:
Unchanging, almighty, holy, indescribable, constant, gentle, piercing, loving, caring, patient God. Thank You. We may need to be reminded at times, but You are all we need and You are far more than enough. You could have made our lives black and white, but you chose to paint them with rich colors, great perspective and much depth. Your subtleties give dimension to our lives. Seriously, Thank You.