Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Anonymous Hero

My Bible reading plan had directed me back to 2 Kings & 2 Chronicles for a bit, before now returning me to Isaiah. I was completely amazed this morning when I heard Mom reading to my brother this morning from a chapter in the same two-chapter portion of 2 Kings. (They are reading sequentially, but I'm on a chronological plan. We even started our reading plans at different times.) Pretty fantastic. Anyway, as soon as I read 2 Kings 17 (verses 24-41 in particular), I knew I had to share it with you. Here are my notes on this amazing chapter that I don't recall ever reading before.

In 2 Kings 17, Israel is defeated by Assyria, and are sent into exile. Other nations come into their land -or, should I say, the land the LORD gave them. Anyway, these nations come in and God sends lions in on them, and some of the land's new inhabitants are killed by them. The remaining inhabitants are terrified, of course, and speak to the king of Assyria who had sent them to inhabit the vacant cities. So he commands one of Israel's exiled priests to come back to the land, and "teach them the custom of the god of the land." So this priest comes in and is basically a Jewish missionary to these people. And they learn to fear the LORD, but they still serve their other gods. (Kind of like Israel, but God required more of Israel because they were His chosen people and because of the covenant He had made with them.)

But I just thought it was incredibly interesting that there was this missionary of a Jewish priest. I thought about what it must've been like for him. I'm sure his expectation in life (his plan) was to live in the land of Israel all his life, minister to the people, and that would be that. His parents might have even told him that when he was a very young boy, being of the Levitic priesthood. But God had different plans for this unnamed priest. The nation of Israel was exiled out of the land, and he left. He left the land he'd known. Then, just as he's getting used to a new way of life, and probably learning to minister to these exiled people, he gets summoned by the king of Assyria. How weird would that be? You've gotta know that wasn't an everyday occurence for a Jewish priest. "Oh, the king wants me to come? Man, yesterday he called Zedechorash; the day before it was Abahinabash. I've got a whole lotta work to do. Can't you just get Jecohabasha to go instead?" I bet he was pretty curious as to what in the world he was being summoned for. At least he didn't have to wonder if it was for that parking ticket! So anyway, he finds out he's being ordered to return to the homeland--that had to be a load of emotions! When he gets there, he discovers all these people with strange customs who are scared of him and who keep saying something about lions. And he's ordered to teach them about His God.
~Well, what would your mindset be?~

"Oh, no way--I'm getting outta here, and I'm getting out fast! Where's a camel?"


"This is great! I can be a novelty. Wonder how much I'll get paid each week?..."


"Well, God, they need you--that's obvious! And I'll teach them about you. Just please give me the strength and soften their hearts. I'm going to need it!"

So he teaches them, and they seem really excited; they even say that they want to worship God. But he begins to realize that they aren't letting go of their other gods. And as the years pass, nothing changes. In fact, nothing changes even slightly. The day comes when the man, now old, dies, finding no change in these people he's lived among and served. They aren't any more faithful than they were before.

But the thing is, even though he may not seem successful in our results-oriented culture, he was more successful than a lot of the people I've been reading about. Why? Because he was faithful in every sense of the word. What a challenge to us all. No matter what the results of our lives look like, I hope that our lives are faithful.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Do you ever get your teeth set for something really good, and then it turns out that you're going to end up eating something entirely different? The feeling is disappointing; not utterly irritating, just somewhat. Well, that's happened to me. But it's more than a disappointment--I still have a choice to go with the original, it will just be difficult if I do. I feel like I planned to have people over, made a really good Italian dinner, answered the door, and they've brought sushi for everyone.

I have a big decision to make in a short amount of time. My original plan seemed so good. I'd prayed about it; I'd even prayed that it wouldn't become too important to me. I've been making lots of preparations in order for it to happen. And now it seems like it might not be the right time to do it. It's hard to explain--I don't want to really talk about it. I've just got to get my thoughts down.

I'm left wondering what I'm going to do: go with the original plan, or change my plan entirely at the last minute? Frustratingly enough, this matter keeps coming to mind right when I want to go to sleep. I keep praying that I won't be anxious, that I'll have wisdom in this decision, and that I would just trust Him.

Pastor Sean really hit it out of the park this morning. His message hit exactly what I've been thinking about. I've been examining my heart, trying to discern what I ought to do, and where my focus is. He spoke on finding the beauty in God's plan--when things are obviously out of your control. (Which, of course is all the time, but with my present mindset, it struck a chord!) The questions again came to mind:

Am I frustrated that my plan isn't working out the way I want? Am I not finding the beauty in God's plan? Am I not Him-focused?

- - or - -

Is it that I'm just frustrated by all the things I'm having to consider; am I frustrated simply because it's all such a confusing mass of possibility?

One lady said that if you're disappointed, frustrated or anxious, it's a sign that you're not God-centered in your thinking. See, the thing is, though, I'm having a hard time knowing whether I am or not. I am disappointed, but not devastated, frustrated but not beyond reasoning, and I wouldn't really say I'm anxious--at least, I keep praying not to be. I keep thinking about it--I have to think through it to an extent. I don't know; I'm just trying to make sure my heart is right in this, and I'm also trying to deal with it at the same time. Would you pray for me?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sick Thoughts

This week, I realized just how strange one's brain can get when one is sick. The funniest things come to mind. These are really disconnected thoughts, but they're things I've been thinking about.

Confession: I have watched You've Got Mail about 200 times...I'm always in agony over whether Kathleen and Joe are really going to get together. Watch it; I know you'll love it. Anyway, the thing that came to mind watching it this time was that I recognized the tone of their emails to one another (of course, when you've watched the movie so many times, the repetition could have something to do with it!). I couldn't get over it. Then I realized that the tone in their letters sounded very much like the tone used in a lot of blogs. People report their latest aspirations, musings and experiences in the most charming way. Take note next time you watch--you'll be surprised; Kathleen & Joe sound like they're blogging. I think it's because both forms of writing (blogging and their emails) are purely for the purpose of sharing life with others. Otherwise, you're likely to walk around muttering, "I am a lone reed."

One piece of advice for you: do not eat Chinese food and drink orange juice when you have the flu. It's not a good combination. Oh, and don't ever study when you have the flu. At least, don't study earthworm anatomy when you have the flu. It's not a good combination either.

And I have to share something I found on my bottle of Midol. (Yes, ladies, it's been a pretty rough week.) I was looking for dosage info, and found the following warning label:

"Ask a doctor before use if you have trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland."

All I can say is, at least I don't usually have that trouble.

On another note, I watched Martha Stewart for the first time in a long time. She is so condescending. She's even condescending when she's sauteeing broccoli rabe. Not many people can do that. That's probably how she made her millions. She has serious condescending skills.