Archive | February 2012

Helpful Words from Further Down the Path

In case you missed it, Scott and Mary Connell led a discussion tonight at Boyce College Dorm Meeting about dating and relationships. Thirteen years of marriage and seven children has a way of qualifying them to speak to us about such things. The last few minutes of their talk were devoted to things girls wish guys knew and vice-versa, followed by a charge of what to do while you wait.

What Girls Wish Guys Knew About Them

1. (Almost) Every girl wants to get married.

2. It’s hard waiting to be pursued.

3. Because of (1) and (2), hearts are very tender and very easily wounded by emotional antics and games. Every action you take in pursuit, therefore, is a big deal and should be treated seriously.

What Guys Wish Girls Knew About Them

1. We don’t understand you. We try, we really do. But we just don’t get it. Be merciful.

2. It’s really really hard to be bold, especially in a culture that does not emphasize courage.

3. We are driven physically and visually in ways you do not understand. This is not a bad thing, but you can bless us by helping us through your dress.

What to Do While Waiting

Work in the power of the gospel to become the kind of person that you desire to attract. Ask yourself this honestly: Would I marry what I am now? 

So Begin the Interviews, Or Not

Tomorrow will see the dawn of Student Leadership interviews for the students of Boyce College. The last two weeks have been a flurry of applications and references and conversations about leadership potential. But now all the forms are in, the times are set, and the interviews will begin.

I remember stepping into the intimidating environment of Jeff Lewis’ apartment in Slight Hall at The Master’s College for my own RA interview, now five years ago. Five men I greatly respected sat in a semicircle, each with pen and paper or laptop in hand, a lonely-feeling chair placed opposite of them. I sat, and the questions began. For forty-five minutes these men sought to leave no stone unturned in my life. Some of their questions left me rejoicing at God’s evident grace in my life; others left me ashamed at the memory of moments when I did not appropriate that grace. I froze, I monologued, I showed them who I was as best I could.

Tomorrow may mark the day interviews begin, but that’s a rather misleading note on the calendar. The reality is that interviews have been ongoing from the very first day of school, and in the case of the references’ responses, often for the entirety of their lives. We would all like to believe that gaining a title in some way changes us. But it doesn’t. A title is a platform that lifts up what you already are. A wedding doesn’t take an apathetic man and turn him into Leonardo da Vinci, and a pastorate won’t make a self-promoter a humble servant. The best it can do for such a man is show him how deficient he is, that he might learn his need for grace. There is no switch in the Christian life, nothing to throw that will instantly transform us into what we wish we were without the work being such would require.

So for those about to interview, take a little piece of advice from one who’s been where you are: Just be honest. We’re all in process, we’re all growing. There will be graces you haven’t seen that will be revealed tomorrow, and there will be strands of sin revealed that you never realized were an issue. Both are acts of kindness from the Lord to you. Praise God we’re being transformed from one degree of glory to another, and he’s promised to complete what he’s begun.

Answers to Forgotten Prayers

I stumbled across a folder entitled “Prayer” on my computer today. I didn’t remember creating it, and I don’t remember the few moments spent writing the solitary document that made up the folder’s entire contents. I am no great penner of prayers like those faithful men whose words appear in the Valley of Vision. But it is an encouragement to see answers in the present to forgotten prayers in the past. That God answers even the prayers I forget makes me come before him more.

Father,

I cannot begin but by thanking you, and not for the circumstances you have brought to pass alone, but for your person and work that stands far above every wave of shifting happiness or sorrow. The strength and value of a rock, a refuge, a bulwark is measured by the forces it can repel without suffering harm. You are the bulwark never failing, the refuge unbreakable, the rock immovable. Beyond this you are my bulwark, my rock, my refuge. You who by all rights ought to be my enemy for good and just cause have not laid down your arms but struck another and considered the strike against me. Mercy in the highest degree you have shown: mercy to ransom, mercy to justify, mercy to qualify to stand before you as a son, prodigal though I am.

As I look inward, Lord, I see insufficiency and weakness, timidity and smallness of soul. And yet I also see courage and strength, qualification to be used and faith. These are of your doing, grown in me through the regenerating and sanctifying work of the Spirit of Christ. Father, thank you for growing in me a tenderness of conscience to see sin. Thank you for the courage to pursue —— ——— to ask forgiveness even when he did not perceive offense, though I knew the motives of my heart were impure and my words matched the suit of their origin. Even as I feel the tentacles of smug satisfaction over the fact that I would recognize and repent of sin which so many others would brush off encircle my heart I pray you would protect me. Please do not allow the good you are growing in me grow what is evil, a pride that would undo me. And not because it would undo me in the eyes of others, though that would grieve me for bringing disrepute upon the gospel. I pray you would keep me from sin because it is against your face. Against you and you only have I sinned. Restrain me as you restrained Abimelech before Sarah, not to allow sin.

In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ,

Amen.