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Posts Tagged ‘Paul’

I often get frusterated that I never know what’s coming. Columbia International University one semester, Husson the next, a semester off, and then Nyack–only to find I’m graduating early (hallejuiah). So despite all the disaster that has pretty much changed every plan I ever made, I’m ahead of schedule. That’s God.

I can’t always understand my God or His plans, and yet through every doubting season of my life, things have come out better His way. My God is the God who when man wrecked the life He wanted us to live in Eden, He promised a Savior. My God is the God who gave His life to offer us everything. My God is the God that moves seas and persevered the Dead Sea Scrolls. That’s my God. And if my future is uncertain to me, I know I can trust it to the God Who did all that.

I wondered sometimes if it was just that I was young that kept God from making the next few months, let alone a few years, clear to me. After all, most college students change their majors several times before they graduate, so maybe that was it. Or maybe I just didn’t have the kind of faith that would allow me to keep going if I knew the future. My mom often says that no one would start a business if they knew how hard it was going to be. After starting one, I agree. But as I’m reading through 1st Timothy, I see a different story emerge. Chapter 3,verses 14-15, tells a different story, “Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ough to conduct themsevles in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

Paul was planning and hoping to come to Timothy, but he recognized that he did not know what was going to happen. Even Paul faced immense uncertainty. The guy who wrote so much of the New Testament. The guy who was called by Christ personally. The guy who planted churches and preached the saving message to souls. That guy, didn’t know what was coming.

So what did he do? He planned, he acted on those plans, but he also made a back-up plan that would carry on his responsibilities if those plans changed. That wasn’t a lack of faith. He did his duty and trusted God with the rest. I guess I keep coming back to that charge from the missionary: do what you can and let God take care of the rest. However many times I bang my forehead into walls I want to smash through, whatever my future holds, and as immensly uncertain as the next day may seem, I’m going to live honoring my responsibilites, making plans, and trusting God to work everything out.

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Though a story may start generations before the book begins, the rising of the hero is perhaps the most delicate scene to write. Here, authors write, scratch, start over, scratch, etc, time and time again; because they understand the importance of these first scenes. Here the hero is introduced, typically in his natural environment. The reader see his flaws and strengths; his passions; his hates and his loves; the people who are important to him. And then: the hero is ripped away from these most precious things.

This forces them to find a strength they never thought they had. Perhaps one character, the strongest member of the supporting cast, will come with the hero. New characters will be introduced to fill the empty slots in the supporting cast. The battle will rage on through the rest of the book.

But despite how clinical the preceding paragraphs seem, there is nothing clinical about these introductory scenes. This is where author and reader fall in love with the hero. In the Bible we see David not as a giant-defeating warrior (1st Samuel 17), but as a shepard who was not even thought to be worthy enough to be brought before Samuel in 1st Samuel 16.  We see Esther not as a queen but a simple orphan, raised by her uncle and taken to the citadel of Susa where she was selected to be queen. Sometimes the opposite happens in the opening scenes–when we first see Saul, later known as Paul, he is approving the death of a Christian marytr (Acts 8:1).

There are millions of other ways of rising a hero, but whatever the way, these opening scenes are a beautiful way to introduce the book, the conflict and the hero. We see evil and good; beauty and hideousness; peace and despair all in a few chapters.

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