Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Trusting in God - An Abstract Reality

Today we not only got our wireless router installed which meant that I could finally contact my parents and my grandparents. It was amazing being able to hear their voices and share my experiences with them. I love the 21st century and all of its glorious technology. I am so glad I’m not a missionary back in the 1800s. Yes, I’m spoiled, but when you have such wonderful people in your life it is important to stay in touch with them. However, it is currently 12:30am. This is what the internet does to you. It destroys your sleep. It’s ok though since I’ve been averaging at least 9 hours a night. I have learned that there is such a thing as too much sleep, something that is easily forgotten in the college rush.

I had tortillas today. We went to the girls’ apartment and Emily whipped up some delicious Mexican food. Yes, Mexican food in Kazakhstan. She had to make the tortillas herself because of course there is no such thing as a Kazakh tortilla. She gave me the recipe, I’m eager to try it out. Cooking has been one of Steven and I’s greatest challenges. It is a whole lot of trial and error. We cook a lot of potatoes. Potatoes are easy and are good for growing young men. We have made some nasty potatoes though. Up until the other day, we peeled our potatoes with a knife. When I asked my boss where I could pick up a peeler she got a puzzled look on her face and said, “Why would you want one of those, you can just use a knife.” Silly American! So I was going to post up here a frantic sign that said “SEND ME A PEELER” but I was walking on one of the streets that is covered in little vendor tables near my house and on a random table I saw a peeler, a little, red, plastic peeler. I immediately grabbed it and yelled at the man, “Skolka!?” (Russian for: How much?) and he said a number I couldn’t understand. I started playing with my fingers so he knew I couldn’t speak Russian. He held up one of his fingers. I handed him a 100 tenge (about 66 cents) coin and said, “Da?” (Russian for: Yes?) and he said, “Da.” It was one of my happier moments here in the great country of Kazakhstan. I went back to the apartment skeptical of the quality of this outrageously cheap peeler, but after peeling my first batch of potatoes I can tell you that it is the best 100 tenge I have spent so far. This thing is like the Titan Peeler with a sharp, two-sided blade. I want to have my boss over so I can show her why a peeler is so important. Have you ever used a knife to peel potatoes? It’s awful, at least from this spoiled American boy’s standpoint. On this journey of mine, I have been praying that God would peel off the thick skin of ignorance and self that I am coated in. The thing about peeling, however, is that it requires a sharp object and sharp objects tend to do some damage. Those potatoes don’t look the same after I attack them with my brilliant, red tool. It makes me think, if Christians claim to be peeled by the grace-filled blood of a Savior then why do they look like dirty, unpeeled potatoes? (The potatoes here in Kazakhstan are extremely dirty!) We may pray that God peels back the layers of selfishness, but once that sharp object gets close it is much easier to run away and hide in the garbage. So what am I saying? That God wants to cut you? Not quite. Here’s what’s on my mind: I once prayed that Jesus would “bring the rain” that He would be completely in charge and prepare me to handle anything. Then the rain came and I cursed Him. Coming here, I told Him to bring the rain. The rain came, and I cursed Him. Today, after getting over my culture shock and telling him to bring the rain once more, the clouds started forming above. I’m not cursing Him, but I’m giving him the look, the look that questions His authority. I can’t let God be God and that is a problem.

My thoughts are scattered tonight and I am in need of a prayer session. Not just a prayer session, but one of those prayer sessions like Jesus had. I once preached a sermon on Jesus’ radical prayer life, but I can’t remember the last time I actually could call my prayer life “radical”. Trusting in Him is a funny thing. It is so abstract and yet so real. It seems so na├»ve and yet it seems like the only option. God is crazy and relentless. If the love that looms inside of me didn’t testify to His existence my faith might falter. But, I got a lot of love inside and it had to come from somewhere. Jesus was so much like His dad. I think I could use a little more crazy and an extra dose of relentless passion.

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