God is so gracious to me...and some days, I just really can recognize it within my life.
Last week I was so stressed out about this Wednesday, I just couldn't imagine me ever getting through it. I have SO much going on right now, I can't even stop to think about anything but school.
Two months ago when I first stepped into one of my hardest classes ever, NT use of the OT, I couldn't imagine ever getting through our insane midterm.
Looking back at all of these times that I thought would fail but have perservered have given me so much encouragment to just keep on going. This semester I am really getting a taste of my weaknesses. I have always seen myself as a strong person, a person who has it all together...but God is really showing me that I am only strong when I rely on HIS strength, and not mine.
Last night some friends of mine and I were talking in the library and they were just encouraging me not to stress so much... it's okay if I don't get an A on something! Life will go on! Their exhortation really helped me to step back and think about why I was even at Biola studying the Bible in the first place. Is it to get straight A's...or is it to grow closer to the Lord? When did my mindset become one of thinking that I had to be straight-A, perfect at everything, or I would consider myself a failure? Back in my good ol' high school days, I used to celebrate over a passing C. Now, this is not to say that we should just slack and get C's, but only that, I am doing the BEST I can at what I am doing in hopes to bring glory to God. And if that means an A on a paper, then sweet...and if that means a B on a paper then okay...etc.
Today after my "insane" midterm that I thought I was going to fail, but definitly did not fail, I went to add some oil in my car (I knoooow....I should go get it changed...). And then I realized I had been out of windshield washer fluid for about...a whole year...and thought to myself, "Oh my gosh...do they sell that stuff at gas stations?" Much to my surprise, they DID sell that at gas stations, and it was only $2! I love buying stuff that will dramatically make me a happier person (like being able to see out of my window when need arises) for only $2. I felt so accomplished.
I know it sounds silly, but my whole day was full of things I thought I could never accomplish...full of times when I wanted to give up SO badly but just kept on going, down to the final moment of the day of believing that I COULD refill my washer fluid all by myself (I have never even attempted to do this before), because while it isn't a strength of mine to do so, my weaknesses are constantly strengthened by leaning into the Lord.
God will daily give us strength in our weakness if we ask Him. I think this is why I appreciate Dr. Berding's book on Spiritual Gifts (or, "ministries") so much. Dr. Berding makes a great case for the Greek word "charismata", and challenges us to rethink our typical views of spiritual "gifts". He brings out the scripture where Paul speaks about how he is a horrible public speaker..but God continually equips him for the ministry He has called Paul too. Basically, Dr. Berding makes a case by saying that God doesn't give us "gifts" to then go find a ministry to serve with that sole "gifting", but that God gives us "ministries", and equips us, strengthens areas of weakness, so we may serve to our best capacity.
Oh, He has risen people! He has risen, and He loves us, and He speaks to us, and He helps us when we need it, and He hears us, and He always remembers us, and He will always be with us forevermore. Amen.