Drew is on a houseboat somewhere in Tennessee, drinking beers and waterskiing (yes, probably at the same time. Bachelor party season is in full swing, God help us all). So I took a trip out to the country to visit my parents. I think it was the first time I’ve slept there without Drew in years. It was kind of bizarre and lonely but mostly awesome.
As I lay diagonally in my old bed, enjoying the blissful absence of Drew’s sleep-talking, sleep-screaming, sleep-bro-ing, sleep-laxing, one-million-degrees-but-still-wants-to-be-the-small-spoon self, I spotted the tiny constellation of glow-in-the-dark stars I stuck on my bedroom ceiling years ago. I remembered how smaller and simpler versions of me would look up at those stars and talk to God. I’d tell Him about my day and my books and my troubles and my hopes and my dreams. And I’d delightedly imagine him nodding along, waiting to hear what I’d say next, eager to give me the desires of my little girl heart.
And I felt one of those tiny tugs on my heart that happen a million times whenever I go back to the house where I grew up.
I guess I used to believe in a different God. A God that was somehow smaller and yet bigger than the one I believe in now. Maybe it’s maturity or maybe it’s cynicism, but I don’t believe as easily, as dreamily, as freely as I used to. I believe – but in responsible, measured segments. I have faith – but in the probable. I hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
I looked up at those glow-in-the-dark stars, wondering at the God that I’ve made into my own, adult image. The ways I’ve shrunk, darkened and sobered Him in my mind. The limits I’ve imposed. How I mashed Him down, sad and pragmatic. Dulled and reduced to realism.
And I realized that this God is not going to cut it anymore.
It seems that at some point we all come full circle. We grow and mature and ‘make our faith our own’, but then we come to our adult obstacles and realize we can’t keep running on reason and responsibility. There are times in your life where you need that child-like faith. Like when you come upon big decisions and need to just take a deep breath and walk on water, out to where Jesus is. You need it so you can be brave like a child and free like a child. Irresponsible, unmeasured, improbable. To hope for the best and just keep on hoping, because what else can you do in the face of the leaps we all have to make in our 20’s?
Remember how we talked last week about headlights? How I’d like to make a 5 year plan, but God seems bent on feeding me in months, just tiny glimpses? I guess what I’m getting at is that sometimes headlights are a surprising mercy, because to summon the faith and hope for the big picture is hard. To believe fiercely, fully and endlessly in a Good Shepherd is frightening. It’s impossible. But can I believe in that way, can I trust Him for, say, 3 months?
Sure I can. Sure you can. Give it a try.
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