Confidence Comes in the Wrestle

I’ve been writing, talking, and thinking about having confidence in God’s reality lately. This blog post comes as an addition to the thoughts I’ve expressed over on my IG feed this week.

On a good morning, I wake up and make a pot of coffee in plenty of time before I have to go to work. These days, the coffee I brew is local, organic, medium roast. I pour a cup and add milk, then step outside to the front porch and driveway. It’s dark at 5 AM in summer or winter, and so I am usually covered in stars, and the light of the moon when it’s shining.

“Father, my heavenly father…” I tilt my head up slightly, imagining God’s presence above, and beside me. Most days over the past couple of years, I stick to the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray, because the framework is sufficient and efficient. “… you are father like no father and mother on earth. You protect, love, encourage, comfort, provide, and everything, as good as, and infinitely better than, a father and mother.”

I remind myself of, and imagine, how good God is, which is the foundation and springboard for the rest of my prayer time.

“God, let your kingdom come – your kingdom is life. Pour your life into me. I need your life and grace and spirit.” I pray through the whole framework of the prayer, knowing that God loves me with a love beyond human love. But mostly I pray for life, because life is always God’s will. God cannot die and he loves to give life. He’s in the business of giving life and healing and resurrecting. That’s just his nature. That’s what he does. And so mostly, that’s what I pray for in my prayer times.

There are days – like this week there’s been some of these days – when I just don’t have life or grace left in my body, in my soul, especially as it pertains to my job – my teaching job. I teach in a public high school. It’s draining. To be honest, it’s been bad for the most part since year one. I’ve never felt like I’ve thrived in this job with its complications too complicated and much to explain. And yet, I am still here – in my seventh year – and I am still trying. And I will keep trying at least for the rest of this school year. Confidence in God’s reality in this for me looks like – already with the confidence of his reality living inside of me – praying for him to fill me with life.

“God, give me life, in my body and soul, for this job; for this teaching job. God, you love to give life in all areas of our lives – in our jobs, our families, our hobbies, our volunteering and serving. In every area of our lives. So, give me life. Give me life and grace for this teaching job.”

And after I pray my prayer, I imagine God pouring his invisible life and spirit and grace into my soul, right then and there. (There is value and substance in imagining God’s presence, and him doing things.) And I carry on, and do the next right thing – I get in the car and drive to work, speedily plan the lesson for the day, welcome the students at the door – and I expect that a Wind, a Wave, will come along and lift me up. And most days these days, a slight Wind does come along and it’s enough to get me through the day.

The next day I wake up and do it all over again.

And I see it now. I’m wrestling.

God’s favorite sport is wrestling, my friend Jenny wrote to me. I’m in a wrestling phase currently. Confidence in God’s reality, willingness and ability, comes to us as we wrestle with him and don’t give up until he touches us and blesses us. Like how Jacob wrestled with God. And so, I will continue in this wrestle with God – “Give me life, God. Give me life, God. Give me life.” – and receive the life he does give every day, here and there, until I break through to an abundance of life.

Everyday Wrestler
I voice the Christian cliché as if I know it.
I express these truths because I heard them from
Abraham and Isaac, but I never
wrestled with God myself.

And that’s why these things can come
from my mouth and yet I am still a deceiver, still
unorganized, still burning in my loins for
another one’s spouse, still agitated to shouting
when all of life’s insecurities come my way.

It’s because I’ve never met God for myself and
I don’t know His reality – His substance.
Or, maybe I have met Him and do know His reality,
but it’s just that I don’t meet Him for myself on
an everyday – every moment – basis.

They say that you can be a Christian and not need
to have some dramatic story of ashes to beauty.
And yeah, that’s true, but I can’t be a Christian without
a decisive encounter. And there’s no way I can
really meet God and it not shake my soul.

There’s no way I can meet Him and not be different
in some way. They say you can be a Christian and
go back to the vomit you left behind.

But I say, no way. I will wrestle God myself.

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