the whole story.
if life is a race, I spend a majority of my time bouncing between the walls of the track – that is, my relationships. There is an undercurrent of the constant dialogue that there is no dialogue: “hey, if you have free time this week, let’s catch up.” When in reality, the more I have to catch up with friends, the less I find I know them. But it doesn’t stop there. The adulthood my generation found is one where we half do everything and fully do nothing; I’m not sure if this is because we never really learned to appreciate and be quiet, or perhaps because we are too busy. Yet ironically most of our efforts are only to terminate upon ourselves, or else there is no real value to much of what we do at all.
In March, I quit drinking coffee for the month. It was not for lent, although I accidentally gave it on lent. That we an experience. I felt like I had more energy and was more focused, but I had nothing to compare it to since I forgot what it was like to have caffeine in my body after three weeks. I’m drinking coffee again and I honestly cannot tell if I am happier drinking it, or not drinking it. I can only say that I feel different and without coffee I have a hard time caring enough to sit down and write – I didn’t just not write here, but anywhere really. No letters, no emails, no journal pages. Once April rolled around I still cut back on coffee and have yet to really be back at Starbucks – I like that.
In the mean time, I have begun renovating a log cabin, and then building a pretty large shop out of which to run a small business to focus on craft and design: specifically custom furniture and what not. It has kept me pretty busy and promises to be profitable, but mostly to the fact that I will be beginning my final leg of school in the summer and will no longer have time to do much else. I will be in school 4 days a week and I will build and design the other 3. Hopefully to connect all the dots and be ready for the plan I’m spinning for next spring. I think I have known my best laid plans are the ones I don’t talk about – but they just happen, like Mr. Fredrickson’s house floating away in Up.
It is not with anxiety and pain, lessons and learning, love and joy. This is not the whole story.
People like to reference Nehemiah when they are working in ministry; mainly since he was so structured in his efforts. It is the story of Nehemiah, the cup bearer to Artaxerxes, hearing of the trials of his people in Jerusalem after the Persian Empire released them from bondage. He had no connection to these people other than heritage, but when he heard the report he mourned deeply for days. The king gave Nehemiah permission and resources to go back and rebuild the walls of the city. Nehemiah is very calculated and careful, specific about what he does. It provides a good backdrop for why they should keep up with numbers in attendance, finances, and programs. But it is not the full story…
The Persians let the Jews go home, which many did (upward to 50k), but some stayed back in Babylon. Esther is about those who stayed behind in Babylon. Nehemiah is about those who came to rebuild the wall. Haggai is about those who went to rebuild the temple. Each book shows a clear purpose of salvation from three vantage points, and only when put together do we began to get a full grasp of who God is and what He is doing – I believe what Acts calls “the whole council of God” (Acts 20:27). Nehemiah is not the whole story, nor is Esther, nor is Haggai. But together we began to see how God works through government, through us, and how God views worship (it’s not limited to these three things).
I realize how short sighed my own Bible study has become since it is easy to rest upon a book, or a passage, without digging deeply into the darker points of the Bible – those that are rarely opened and read. So often the Bible is taught in relevance to our lives, which brings the danger where we try to conform God to us and not be conformed into His holiness. The Bible is about the gospel. Adam and eve were given the tree to learn the liberty of obedience, and God provided a way. Habakkuk teaches to understand God’s justice and His love and how they work together. This isn’t just us trying to make something broken work; the whole council of God will spin on its own wheels and if you take time to look deeply at the actual Bible, there is something really amazing to behold. Check it out.
The Kingdom of God. That is the whole story.