Friday, October 4, 2013


This may be a bit over-dramatic... but here goes.

Half the time, if you don't hear from me, it's because my head is under water. Not the real, liquid type that gets in your ears and nose and makes your vision blurry, but the other kind. The murky water of life that gets in your ears and nose and makes your vision blurry. The kind that makes it hard to see where you're going and even harder to communicate that to someone. When your head's under water, it's hard to talk,... and if you do, it's hard for anyone to understand you. So if you don't understand this post, don't worry... it's because my head is under water.

On one hand, maybe that's a good thing because maybe, just maybe, I'm finally submerged in that glorious river to which Ezekiel 47 refers, in that cryptic passage about the river that comes out of the temple of God and runs deeper and deeper until you can only cross it swimming.

Or, maybe I'm not.

It sure doesn't feel like I'm being swept along by the Spirit of God, it just feels like I'm being pulled under. If it's the Spirit of God sweeping me along, then I'm humbly grateful. If it's the worries and cares of this life, if it's my like-a-top constantly spinning mind trying to figure out the whys and hows of life, if it's a wrong turn in the path, or a character flaw that God is trying to purify out of my slow-to-learn heart, then I wouldn't mind getting out of this whirling eddy and sit on the bank for a while.

These last few months have given me ample material for rumination. Nothing earth-shattering, like death in the family, or similar tragedies. Just a steady stream of unfortunate coincidences that have turned into a rushing torrent in my mind, and made me question which side is up. Four teams have failed to appear this year, two of which informed us of their inability/decision not to come, and two who just dropped communication altogether, no warning or explanation given. It gave me that same eerie sensation that I had as a child when I'd come home from school and no one would be there. I would be ok at first, then would start to wonder paranoically if the rapture had occured and I had been left behind... The paranoia that creeps in under these circumstances is a sneaky suspicion that God is telling people, “don't go to Peru with Crystal, because... (fill in any number of reasons here)

Now blend that with a visa that just refuses to be renewed, a diploma that continues to come back to me in Latin (this would require much more explanation), and patterns that I see repeating themselves in the personal realm (miscommunication, strained friendships and my aforementioned tendency to paranoia)... and I'm starting to wonder if perhaps --I really am the problem--. Confrontation and conflict resolution have never been strong suits of mine. I know I could use more work on those skills and lately I have been steadily presented with multiple opportunities to pare those skills toward perfection. Selfishness and self-pity, and a sense of futile inadequacy have also risen to the surface of this cesspool. God saying “no” to going home to my brother's wedding, the death of a dear pastor's wife here in Nauta, the knowledge that there are pastors who talk about me disparagingly behind my back (who DOES that, going about bearing tales?) and so on. All of which add together to lend a unsettling sense of being adrift in a troubled sea. What's going on, God?

The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head

Jonah. I must confess he has been a recurring theme in my life in the past. But I don't think I am trying to run from God's will right now... it's just rather murky, and currently indecipherable to me.

I resonate more with Psalms 42:7

Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.

And the same Psalm repeatedly voices,

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

Yet. I am convinced of this. That He who began a good work in me will be faithful to bring it through to completion. Today the birds are belting out their joy and praises to the king. There is much to do, but He who does the work is faithful. He is. And will continue to be.
...if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” II Timothy 2:13

Even if I fail. Even if I at some point in my life am faithless, wittingly or unwittingly. Even if I stumble, He still is able to sustain His work. This is my trust, this my confidence, this my undying hope. I rest in His ability, in His grace, in His unquenchable glory.

Are you also in turbulent waters today? May you and I, at the end of the day, be able to say with David,

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
- Psalms 40:2

Come, let us lift up our hands to the Father of Lights, and the Author of Life and cry out with the Psalmist,

from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
- Psalms 61:2

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