If You Have a Test, Quiz, Paper, or Project This Week…


If you have a test, quiz, paper, or project this week…remember that someone is giving you a gift. The thought finally snuck into my brain last week, as I sat on the couch reading a book about perceptions-of-Christian-conversion-from-various-world-religions, and Annie worked by the window. The night had been short, the font was small, and my eyes were drooping. My soul, bedecked in running shorts and a marathoner’s bib fell to its knees and cried, How long, O Lord?!

Then the infiltrating thought spoke up: Continue reading “If You Have a Test, Quiz, Paper, or Project This Week…”

The Dumbest Thing I’ve Done This Fall

I stomped around the apartment, digging through bags and overturning stacks of papers and envelopes. I’ve worked so hard to check everything off my list this week–I have 30 minutes to read the last chapter, shut down the laptop, and kick off the weekend with our first date in weeks. Where is that dumb book?! Eventually, I traipsed up the library, borrowed a reserve copy, and read what I could. All weekend, the unread half-chapter lingered in the back of my mind.

Having recently overheated over missing school supplies, it didn’t take long for me to reach the boiling point as I looked for CD of assigned podcasts. I’d checked of my classes, dutifully attended chapel, and heated up lunch. A Costco run with the podcasts in tow was next on my list, but the CD I expected to find on the desk was nowhere to be found. This time, I roped Annie into the search, going through all the closets, drawers, and cupboards. What are the chances that I somehow left this CD under the sink in the bathroom? Enough to give it a try. I went down to the storage unit. I dug through the panniers on my bike. As I dug through our glove compartment and looked under the car seats, I started to pray the prayers that don’t get published or recited: First you let me lose the book, now this CD! I distinctly remember you NOT answering that prayer by revealing “The Hermeneutical Spiral.” Help a guy out, God! Honestly, I’m getting a little frustrated!

Annie finally convinced me to go back up the hill and pay the $12 for a new CD. I pulled one off the shelf, thinking, This says PR601 sermons, not podcasts. Is this what I got last time? It must be what I got last time. I shoved it through the cashier’s window and then into Mrs. Hudson’s CD player. Who sells a CD that doesn’t work in CD players!?!?!, I mused, meekly.

I sped down the hill, marched up the stairs, pressed the disk into this very Macbook Pro, and discovered…no podcasts. This last discovery incited not anger, but embarrassment. Something finally clicked in my mind. I opened up my browser, clicked on “downloads,” and read, “PR601 Pulpit Talk Set.”

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 5.21.39 PMI waited until Annie’s phone call concluded.

“Um…I need to apologize. I took us on a wild goose chase. There was no CD. I downloaded the podcasts. I did end up buying the sermons I still had to buy.”

Annie graciously laughed as I quipped, “If only I’d downloaded that book, too.”

As soon as the words left my mouth, the angel of relief and the demon of shame started playing vertical tug-of-war with my soul. I walked into the bedroom, picked up my Kindle from the nightstand, and swept along the carousel. There, in thumbnail form, was the book that I’d grieved.

“Also, I downloaded that book.”

For a moment, I thought this might be a great illustration of Jesus’ story in Luke 15, who finds her lost coin. Then I realized that the woman in that story represents the sinless angels of God. No, I was an illustration of James’ warning, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” The dumbest thing I’ve done all fall is not forget that I downloaded a book and some mp3s. The dumbest thing I’ve done all fall is get mad at God. When we’re angry, God is absolutely the safest one to confide in, but not the same way that we would confide in a punching bag. We can approach God honestly, but we must continue to respect him as we deal with our frustration and confusion about the present situation. Anytime blame we place on God will be shown to be foolishness in the end.