Glimpses of the Promised Land

I’ve talked a bit about feeling like I’ve been in exile over the past couple years and luckily it seems like I am starting to see the Promised Land again. I entered into my MA here at Fuller with a lot of pressing issues I needed to address. I felt completely deconstructed by my previous studies and left with no real resources to piece things back together. At the core of a lot of it was epistemology and my loss of confidence in foundationalism as a viable model for the current philosophical and cultural landscape.  I also had some areas of study  I just needed to dive right into. Over this past year, I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do just that.  I feel I am starting to hone in on a better epistemological method. Many of my research hunches about where the conversations are going in numerous fields/topics have been vindicated and I am starting to get my confidence back in my own abilities to write and do biblical research. It’s strange how things change over time. Not long ago I felt totally adrift at sea, now I am starting to feel like its time to set anchor.

God has been working on me a lot too. I noticed him in some small details of my life recently and it was encouraging. They were silly little things that wouldn’t seem important to anyone. For example, I needed a dime for one last page of photocopying from a book in the library and had no money to do it. I would have to trek all the way home for one but I decided to check the floors of the copy rooms on the off chance there might be one laying around. The first room had nothing but when I went up to the second floor, there it was, right in the middle of the floor in front of the copying machine. It was like God was saying, this is small potatoes Steve. I can do this. Another instance was when a friend of mine gifted me a book that was on a topic we both shared an interest in. It was totally out of the blue and much appreciated. I know these are not terribly huge or earth shattering events but I had kept my eyes open for God, and noticed him show up in the minutest of ways. Another instance was when I was on the computer and managed to book all my flights, hotels, car rentals for trips this quarter and subscribe to the necessary scholarly organizations and register for a conference all in one fell swoop. I have been really stressed about this quarter because of all the commitments I have to keep, I have a close friend from college getting married which I am standing in the wedding party for, a trip to the SBL/AAR conference in November, two sets of parents visiting and oh I also get to TA a class this quarter. Not to mention study for the GRE and work on Ph D applications. It seemed an insurmountable task. Yet, somehow my trip stuff all pooled together into one productive afternoon. It was serendipitous and I felt like God was behind it. Then, after committing to the fact that I would have to spend a small fortune to stay in San Francisco for the conference, a friend offered to put me up for free. God has really been addressing the area of finances with us this year. It’s quite humbling to be working on your second masters and also be on food stamps. That’s just where we are right now and God has been meeting our needs. In Denver, we were very intentional about working hard and being responsible with our money. I think in some ways, God needed to show us that he can support us when we are in need and that it isn’t all about the work ethic.

Throughout it all I’ve been trying to get at the heart of the issue, why is it that I still feel like I can’t trust God?  In some ways, I feel like its God fault I’ve encountered so much adversity these past few years but then I am beginning to see the fruit of those experiences.  It changes my perspective and sometimes I think I just need a good Holy Spirit God cry session to get all this junk out.  I might visit the Pasadena International House of Prayer to do just that.  I need to let go of the overwhelming sense of loss I experienced and am trying to figure out the best way to go about it.  All in all things are getting better even though life continues to throw me challenges.  It’s good to be alive and I’m happy with where I am right now.  I think that’s all I can hope for at this stage of the game.  Soon  a lot will be changing but for now, I’ll just rest in the fact that I am finally making some progress in my life without God kind of phase.  Exile is only for a time and I for one am glad that it looks like it will soon be over.  I can’t wait to see what’s on the other side………Will it be the Promised Land?… That still remains to be seen.  One thing I do know,   I will be glad to be out of the wilderness