…and he prayed,
“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.” 1 Kings 8:23 (NLT)
If I sound like a broken record lately, I apologize. It seems that my entire life has been focused on just one aspect of faith: trusting God. It seems I have a breakdown of faith every day—times when I feel my anchor slipping—and it seems then that every day, too, I manage to regain it. I can feel my faith growing stronger as I practice it. And the stronger it gets, the easier it becomes to remember to practice it.
Last night I prayed for a resolution to a vexing problem concerning a summer research institute I’ll be taking part in. I had applied to the program at the urging of my mathematics professors. At the time, it felt like one of the doors that the Lord opened for me. But obstacle after obstacle came up so that potential research mentors who would normally be available to math students were not going to be on campus this summer. As the students in other fields started finding mentors and began to formulate research proposals, I began to feel awkward, as though maybe I didn’t really belong there. I was beginning to let the frustration win.
Finally, last night, before a meeting today at the research campus, I prayed for God to guide the action today. I asked Him to be present with me in the meeting, and to guide the thoughts of the director. I asked Him in fact to guide every moment so that my cohorts would also feel comforted if they had frustrations, too. After spending time with Him, deeply and solemnly expressing my desire to obey whatever He wills, and unabashedly asking God’s help, His control, His good and perfect will to be done on earth, in my little corner of existence—I felt peace, assurance, that He would do exactly that, even for me. Even for me. And who am I to ask favors of God?
I’ll tell you. I am who He loves unfailingly, just as you are. Everything worked today like a row of dominoes falling in a pattern onto a table.
I had an idea last night of who I really am—a teacher, in my heart. And I had an idea of what I am really passionate about—reaching students individually and lifting them up (oh, yes, and teaching them some math, too). So, I wrote some things down about those notions: problems I see in the education system as I teach remedial math, questions, hypotheses, names and locations of some papers others have written.
Today at lunch, one of my new classmates in the program sat across from me. I asked her about her research in psychology. She asked me about mine. She pressed for more information. She told me her husband teaches remedial math in a college nearby. That gave us common ground. She is Korean. I grew up with a Korean best friend. More common ground. Her husband also goes to seminary. Ah ha! God, I see you here! The more we spoke together, the more we discovered we shared.
She suggested a solution to my problem that was so obvious it felt like I had suggested it myself. I discussed it with the director, who loved the idea. When I told my new friend that she had been the catalyst for what looks like it may be a solution, she was overjoyed. We both agreed it was God’s work in action!
So, tonight, when I was reading the bible, I went looking for scripture about our love and gratitude to God. I found the verse in Kings where Solomon is finally presenting the temple to the Lord, who had promised it to Israel. When I read it, I cried.
Here is a king expressing his great joy at the culmination of generations of obedience to God.
Here am I expressing my joy at being witness to a visible act of God working His will upon the earth to solve the problem of one, tiny, faithful servant whose name is unknown to all but Him.
And they look the same. They look the same.
…so I pray
“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. Thank you, Lord. I am so fortunate to be one of your own. Please help me to be your vessel and every day fill me with the words and actions that can show others the way to You, Lord, and to everlasting life.”