I am blogging this Advent from #decolonizelutheranism’s Advent devotional, Shut Up. (That would be the sanitized version)
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalms 27:3 ESV)
I am not confident.
I suppose that makes me faithless.
I struggle. What exactly is the point of my life, given that I’m back almost exactly where I was 20 years ago? It’s as if everything that has happened since I turned 30 was of no great value. No great difference. Didn’t even happen.
Someone recently called me whiny and ungrateful. Yeah, I suppose I am. It has been hard for me to see my life seemingly amount to nothing. Or so little. Always so much potential — meeting Jesus, a new call, a book deal, ear worm songs — that no one much seems to be interested in.
But I have to remember something — I was never promised an outcome. Except resurrection, except eternal life, and for that, I have to die first. And not just metaphorically. I really have to die first. And I don’t want to die. Not today. Not now. Not alone, unrecognized, unappreciated, ignored.
I would be called, given words to speak. No guarantee anyone would listen.
I have been called, spoken words. And some have listened. Occasionally I am reminded of this. It wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t what I hoped for.
Who heard Stephen the day he was dragged before the high priest and stoned to death for blasphemy? Saul was there, listening, enraged, inspired to his murderous work. He’d heard Stephen speak, and I suspect Stephen’s witness worked its way in him and with him until that Damascus road trip, when it suddenly all made sense, when Jesus struck him blind.
I am not going to die. That is too dramatic, even for me.
I can’t help being afraid. But I am not alone here. I have been called, given words, and sent. I am not alone. I don’t know why I am where I am, or why nothing seems to have worked out for me the way it has for so many I know. I doubt I ever will know.
I am afraid. I am not confident.
But one who is fearless called me. To whatever end makes sense for him. And that is enough.