Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Life Examined

I feel so idle right now, like I want to (or am supposed to) be doing something more, but I am afraid (or can't, or am too lazy/not motivated enough) to get there.

I have serious questions about why I am in school right now, whether being in school is wisdom, or if it is actually unbelief in God's power in my life. One of my professors once said "we are in the education business because we don't want to die". It was a bad joke about the dangers of coal mining and why we are getting educations instead of working in some dirty shaft in Pennsylvania, but I feel like there is a lot of truth to it. If I can only get one more A, if I can only get that piece of paper that says I did it, then I won't have to rely on God, to trust him to provide. I can wrap my identity up in my diploma and my alma mater then I won't need to be vulnerable with Jesus. If I can get this degree, then I will have job security and not need to trust in Yahweh. But at this point, it would be stupid not to finish. I already have debt equivalent to a very very nice car, so why not tough it out and get that piece of paper that will solve all my problems?

The weird thing is that I have had some very inspiring times in the bible recently. Joshua 1:5-6 says "5No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them."

Something about those verses ring so deeply inside of me, like they were placed there for me. They raise up inside of me this fiery passion for God that is inexplainable. "For you will cause this people to inherit the land". God is so good.

In Exodus 33 it says of Joshua, "1Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent."

While Moses met face to face with God, Joshua was apparently there too. When Moses left the weighty presence, Joshua remained. He would not depart. I believe that it was in his weighty presence that Joshua was turned into the kind of man who would "cause this people to inherit the land." There are intense connotations to the idea of inheritance that I can't go into right now (wish I had time and more knowledge on it). It wasn't through intense study of the law or through military cunning that Joshua cause the people to inherit the land, but because he was a man who "would not depart from the tent".

I want to be a man who will not depart from the tent, who will not leave YHWH's weighty presence, but how am I to do this when my life is consumed by school and my heart grows cold to him when I am immersed in the godless smut of academia? "My heart and flesh cry out for the living god", yet I am stuck in a system, "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth." The greeks demanded wisdom and the cross was folly to them.

Worldly education is a paradox to me. It seems the more I learn, the deeper desire I have to recede into the tent. Yet, I constantly substitute learning about the tent for time within the tent. I know there is value in my education, it has taught my to think critically, and to write, and a few other useful things, but all too often, I use these things as substitutions for interaction and communion with the only one who will ever fulfill me. I write so much about encountering God, but spend so little time actually doing it. I learn so much about what a Christian should look like, but spend so little time actually looking like it. I have so much knowledge, and too little Jesus.

Is my education bad? No, but it isn't Jesus either. I have this gapping hole in my heart that Jesus needs to fill, a hole that seems to only get bigger the more I do homework and study, a hole that only gets more clogged and sodden the more I learn about the things of the world through, the more I divert time away from the wellspring of life into the desert of school.

Part of me wonders if writing is evasion or healing for me. I would like to lean toward the latter, but only if it leads me closer to Jesus, close to the tent of his presence.

The sad thing about this is that I now have to go study... :(