Thoughts from Hebrews

This morning I settled in for a cup of coffee and quiet time. My soul has been unsettled this week. One of my favorite bands, Wilco, releases a new album on Tuesday, and NPR had a sneak peak of it a few days ago. It's a perfect album for the confused mood I'm in. In the moment, I thought I was simply stressed. But after my quiet time today, I think it's more than stress.

I've been studying Hebrews, one of my favorite books of the Bible. I've studied it a few times, but this time has been different since I'm in a newer Bible, still void of my scribblings, highlightings, and musings. It's allowed me to look at Hebrews in a new light. Today I studied Hebrews 11 which contains a run-down of the faith greats. This has always been the portion of Hebrews I've keyed in on the most--the stories of Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, etc. But today found myself underlining and starring different verses. Here's what jumped out at me today:

"All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did NOT receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them" (Hebrews 11:13-16).

I have to confess---for too long I've looked too much like the world. I've been wrapped up in my job, I've focused too much on achieving worldly success, people haven't been as important to me as they should. My eyes have been set not on my heavenly homeland and extending that to others but have instead been focused on what I can do to further my career. I hate that I've fallen into this trap. I felt myself slipping into it last spring, and I've let it sweep me up again. These verses are a great reminder to me that this world is not my home. I have a serious lifestyle change ahead of me. It's not going to be easy.

Here's another set of verses that jumped out at me today:

"By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and hols in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us" (Hebrews 11:33-39).

The verses in bold print have been tough for me. This week I've thought a lot about our adoption. We haven't received any calls yet about meeting any birth parents or bringing home any babies. When we were placed on the list of available adoptive parents back in July, I secretly believed some of the comments people made when they heard we were placed on the list, comments like, Oh, you guys are young, you'll get picked right away! Or, Two teachers--who wouldn't pick you?!? It's only been a little over 2.5 months since we were approved, and most couples we've talked to were on the list for a year or longer. But as crazy as it seems, somehow I thought we'd be picked by now. I worry that we'll never be picked. That we'll remain childless forever. It chokes me up to type that. That's why the bolded verses are hard for me to grapple with. The faith greats I've read so much about did not receive all God had promised them. Some were tortured, others were isolated, and some would've received respite had they only turned from God. But they didn't. They kept their hope in an eternity spent with Him. They knew what God had in store for them was way better than anything they could have here on earth.

My unsettled soul is a result of more than just stress. God's teaching me some tough lessons this week that have shaken me up a bit. It'll take time, diligence, and prayer to struggle through these in order to become all that God wants me to be.

1 comment:

Erin said...

Mmmm. Good good thoughts. Though it is hard, DO continue to wrestle with the Lord in this. He can handle your hard questions and He is a gentle and patient teacher. I'll be praying, friend.