God + The Impossible

Matthew 6:32-33 - For the unbelievers run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Is money an issue for you? Psh. God’s bigger. I didn’t always say that with conviction, but I do now. And here’s why.

May 27th at my youth group’s worship team meeting, I was all super emotionally messed up because I was exhausted and literally hadn’t eaten all day, and I let slip to Carissa that I was having a hard time trusting God with money. I knew I had to go to school next year to finish up my general studies at SPSCC, and then move on to get my Music Therapy Degree at Seattle Pacific University because a Music Therapy degree is what God’s been pushing me to do… but how on earth was I supposed to come up with $1,000 for fall quarter at SPSCC, let alone $111,754 for four years at SPU?

One of the big reasons I was feeling discouraged was because all the acceptance letters from the SPSCC Scholarship Foundation had already come in. I’d applied for every single one I was qualified for. I’d made the early deadline and everything. And even Levi had gotten his congratulatory letter for a $2,000 Arts Scholarship, and I was like, “Oh, well, I guess my train has passed.”

And then I was going to fill out the the form for a $2,000 scholarship that I could get through my union at work, and as I was filling it out, I happened across a line on the form that said I had to have been a member in good standing of the union for a year at the time of application…it was the end of May then, and I joined in August of last year. So, disappointed and defeated, I decided, “Okay, God, I trust you. One way or another, I’m gonna get $1,000 by September, and you’re going to help me.”

But I was still struggling, because I always struggle with trusting someone other than myself to make things happen.

WELL.

When we finally left the church that night and Levi dropped me off at my house, there was a piece of mail for me on the table from SPSCC. Not thinking anything of it (I thought it was my information for admissions in the fall or something), I opened it and started to read the letter.

And then I burst into tears.

“Dear Hannah,

 

On behalf of South Puget Sound Community College, I would like to extend sincere congratulations to you on being selected as a recipient of the Achievement in the Arts Scholarship in the amount of $2,000 and the Greene Family Scholarship in the Arts in the amount of $1,000. These scholarships will be applied toward your tuition and fees for the 2010-11 academic year….”

God. is. SO. Good.
I have money not just for fall quarter, but for fall, winter, and spring. I have enough money now to graduate that community college with my AA by June 2011.

I’m done trying to take on the impossible by myself. And I’m done worrying about the things that I can’t control. Because, let’s face it–everything is out of my control. I don’t control anything, because everything is in God’s hands.

Lesson learned, God. I trust you.

When God Takes Over the Keyboard…

This was a little while ago. A conversation between me and Jess that was spawned off of the two God-notes I’d posted.

I literally surrendered the keyboard the second I read this question. And this is the outcome.

Jess: Can I ask you a philosophical question?

Me: Always. 🙂

Jess: My main problem with Christianity in the past was that they’ve always said that non-Christians can’t go to heaven, even if they live good lives the same as Christians. I don’t know if I can believe in something that condemns non-believers.

Me: Mmmm. I think a lot of people have that problem. I used to. Here we go.

God is PERFECT. He’s purely love, and he’s purely grace, and he’s absolute Perfection. Whenever you feel like doing something bad, or making the wrong decision on purpose, there’s a little teeny voice in the back of your head telling you not to.
The “conscience,” as they call it, is a sorry denial for the inherent voice of God in all of us.
I’m not done yet, so hang onto your seat.

When Original Sin was committed waaay back in Genesis with the fruit and the snake, we separated ourselves from God physically. Because God is perfect, no sin can be in God’s presence.
In Exodus, Moses went to the mountaintop to speak with God, and he had to turn the other way, because if he faced God, the brightness of God’s perfection would blind him.

And in between Genesis and Exodus, God tried giving his people SO many new chances. Like flooding the entire earth in attempt to cast out sin. But that didn’t work, because sin has been lodged so deep in our hearts from the beginning.

I’m probably digressing, so I’ll get back on track. The thing that’s important to know is that God isn’t condemning anyone. And now I’ll explain that.
Think of it as traditional slavery–being sentenced to a life beneath you just because of your color. When Original Sin was created, mankind was marked forever. It started out with curiosity and disobedience (which you’ll learn in Children of Eden, actually xD), and then it progressed to murder, greed, lust–all of the things that make a community corrupt. And mankind’s hearts grew blacker and blacker.

Satan claims everyone whose heart is black as his own, and sentences them to a life of slavery. It’s not something anyone chooses, because it’s not like we’re wise enough as small children to say, “I am going to commit my life to the one who can whitewash my heart clean for all eternity.” We were all condemned to it thousands of years before we were born. It’s like our parents screwing up our earth and now we have to pay for it, except there’s several generations’ difference.

God is not the one who condemns you to an eternity of suffering. God is so much bigger than slavery. He’s so much bigger than suffering. And if he wanted to, he could abolish everything. Reboot the world, eliminate Satan and all evil from the universe, and start Eden all over again. But he wouldn’t take away the source of the problem that makes us sin–free will. He wouldn’t take that away because he loves us so much. It’s like keeping a bird in a cage all its life because you’re afraid of it flying away.

God loves us so much that he gives us our free will and the choice and the ability to do the things that we do.

Now chew on THIS little tidbit.

Before the years of Christ, there was NO redemption for ANYONE. Once you sinned, that was IT and there was NO going back unless you made sacrifices of blood on a ritual basis. That was the ONLY way to erase your sin. There had to be continual death in order for purity to occur.

And finally, at a point in humanity’s progress, God said, “No more.”
When he saw that the world had become such a dark, divided place where the church was corrupt by men in power, and where there were no cures anywhere for the sick, where demon-possessed were freely roaming the streets–he sent his son to earth. He loved all of humanity SO MUCH that he was willing to send HIS SON as a blood sacrifice. At only one point in history had any man been willing to sacrifice his son for God’s will (Abraham), and that was because God was testing his faith and his devotion in order to deem him worthy of leading the nations.

Can you imagine how much gravity that sort of thing holds? Can you imagine sending the one person you love most to the physical equivalent of hell, to be put through every agony known to man, and then be tormented to the worst execution imaginable?

Just think for a moment–if you were in a parent’s shoes, and if you had to choose between sacrificing your child and condemning all of humanity, which would you choose?
I guarantee that nearly all of us would choose to let humanity jump itself off a cliff.

But God did just the opposite. He loves us so much, and he wanted us to be with him SO MUCH, that he sent his ONLY child to earth to go through all the harshness of a life physically separated from God. Can you imagine what it would be like to never be able to see your mom, EVER? To know she was always there, somewhere, maybe listening and maybe not, but NEVER replying?

God gave the ultimate blood sacrifice so we could have a ticket to heaven. All we have to do is embrace the tug on our heartstrings, the gentle but quiet voice that says, “I have always loved you.”
And what’s amazing about this is that after that sacrifice, and after people continue to turn away from God’s love, he is STILL quiet, and still gentle. He is perfect and he is righteous and he is perfection, and
he could literally rock your world with his might and his beauty, to make you love him out of awe and fear and authority.
But he loves you enough that he will ALWAYS wait for you, no matter how long it takes. God has ALWAYS been chasing after you, and he ALWAYS will.
Psalm 23–“Surely, His goodness and mercy shall chase me ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE.”

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

And people say God condemns nonbelievers? GOD CONDEMNS? Are you freaking kidding me? God condemns NO ONE. The only way we get condemned is by caving in to our own doubt and desire. That is the ONLY way to get condemned.

And sadly, there IS another force out there who is bent on making us not listen to that little, gentle voice that urges you to the right direction. And that other force is the loud one. It’s the deceptively beautiful one. It’s the one that says, “You deserve it” or “They deserve it” or “You’re NOTHING.”

And only when you run to God’s love can you escape from that. Only when you embrace the light of how much he truly loves you will you realize just how dark your world was before. You think the love of a boy, or the love of a friend, is good?
Honey, that is NOTHING compared to the love of your maker, your eternal father. It’s NOTHING. This kind of love is something that will move you to tears. It’s something that can speak to you every moment of every day, if you let it.

And when you’re ready, Jesus IS going to rock your world. You’d better believe it.