Anyone who knows me much at all has probably heard my despair at the inevitability of winter and cold weather. I despise being cold. Really, nine times out of ten, the air conditioning in the summer is excessive and unnecessary. Bring on the sunshine, warm weather, and let the good times roll.
But I’m learning a lot about perspective.
Yesterday, it snowed.
So, even though it was brutally cold, I jumped on a fat bike to make fresh tracks on the snow-covered greenway trail behind the shop. I didn’t have gloves or a hat, my shoes got wet from the snow, and I’m pretty sure the blood in my veins was turning to ice.
But I had fun.
I was actually excited to go outside and play in the snow. Despite the cold. Despite the seeming-perpetual darkness.
Maybe winter can be fun after all, with the right perspective.
This morning, after an exhausting week, I woke up nearly an hour before my alarm went off, on the only day I will likely have a chance to sleep in. Every bone in me wanted to moan.
Why, on today of all days, when I am sooooo tired, do I have to wake up early?
So, since I was awake, I stumbled out to the living room and started my day. I wrote my December note of the day (another subject for another post…eventually), then pulled out my Bible and started reading. I’ve been trudging through the early parts of the Old Testament since getting a new Bible at the start of the school year and its been rough. Slogging might be the most appropriate word. But I’m pushing on. This morning, I was in Numbers 11 (yay for finally making it past Leviticus!), reading about Moses. The people of Israel were complaining, and Moses went straight to God and blamed God for their whining. His accusations seemed uncomfortably familiar: “God, why did you put me in this position?” “You should have known it would be hard–too hard!” “These people I’m surrounded with…this responsibility you’ve given me…it’s all your fault, God!”
Interjection: it’s high time for some straight up honesty. Being a Christian and a young adult in America is hard. It is way easier to be a single missionary in Tanzania than it is to be a single / a competitive athlete / a young adult / you-fill-in-the-blank Christian in America. At least for me. These last six months have been tough. I’ve questioned the faith I spent the last four years sharing with teens and young people. I’ve despaired of ever truly hearing God and wondered if my past decisions were all pure foolishness, or, worse, selfishness. Just twelve months ago, I was convinced God was calling me to move to Indiana, to start a Ph.D. in International Education, and to work with Young Life in Fort Wayne. Now, a year later, I’ve only successfully done one of those things. I am in Indiana. But I’m dropping out of school because its not what I thought it would be and I hate it. I never got involved with Young Life because it conflicted with my work schedule and I never heard back after my initial inquiry. Plus, I’ve managed to make enough stupid financial decisions that instead of earning and saving money, I’m more broke than I’ve ever been in my entire life with impending medical bills looming over me like certain doom, or maybe consequences for my prior stupid choices. I should have known better. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed. I am, and its my own fault, and I continually find myself taking it out on others and then hate myself all the more for it. Plus, in all my searching for answers, all I find is the dry, silent pages of Leviticus.
Until this morning, when Moses’ frustrated words echoed my own silent screams of anger. “God, I followed you.” “I thought you wanted me to do this, and I’ve failed.” “God, it’s all your fault.” But I’m so quick to judge Moses and the Israelites. They are eating bread that’s literally falling from the sky and they have the audacity to question God’s ability to provide?! Oh wait. And this morning, after months of unanswered questioning, I saw it. Perspective.
Moses’ perspective was all wrong. He was concerned about himself and his comfort. He was looking at his circumstances, and with the Israelites’ whining at the forefront of his vision, that was all he could see.
God’s response to Moses is telling. God provided. He didn’t answer Moses’ prayer–Moses asked to die rather than deal with the Israelites. But in grace, God provided meat for the Israelites to eat. He showed up again. He proved once more than He was bigger than the neediness of the Israelites.
My perspective is just as twisted as Moses’. I too am focused on myself and my perceived problems. The glaring imbalance in my bank account has shrunk God in my mind to the point where I no longer believe He is bigger than my prospective hospital bills or able to provide. Yet, if I stop to think about it, there is never a time where God has not provided. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over He is faithful.
I am reminded of Habbakuk: for three chapters, the prophet despairs over his circumstances. But in the last few verses of the book, everything seems to change. All of a sudden, he starts praising God. Except nothing has changed. Nothing that is, except for his perspective.
There’s hope even in the winter that brighter (warmer) days are coming. And there’s hope in even the darkest circumstance that no matter what, God is greater. He is still in control and He is still good…even when I don’t see it.