Wrestling with the indefinite wait.
Wrestling with my ownership and control over my money, and with my lifestyle.
Wrestling with my will and thoughts.
Wrestling with my blindness, of coming to terms with how little is in my control and knowledge.
Wrestling with an imperfect faith.
Wrestling with my hidden, deeper self’s true idea of God.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my relationship God, it’s that it’s not a fairy tale. In its best moments, it can be a wrestling match on a roller coaster ride. When I ask God for faith, I don’t become robotic, unthinkingly obedient, or “automatically faithful.” It hasn’t been many days since the other post, but clearly I’m grappling with anxiety, hope, and frustration over the lack of prospects for someone to take my place in the apartment I’m subletting, and finding a place to move into, all before May 1.
This teaches me a truth about life’s design. That unexpected or difficult situations reveal:
- My heart’s true idea of God
- What is ultimately treasured in my heart.
Do I push God to the back burner, to focus on fixing the chaos first? If I’m so worried about losing xyz, what does xyz really mean to me? If I push everything aside for xyz, what does xyz mean to me?
It’s been sixteen days, and just two people viewed the apartment. Two. Of course, they’re still checking out other options. Since I have no control over the room hunting market, what people are willing to spend, or if they’ll be sold to the room and bathroom once they see it, I feel helpless. My mind can’t help thinking of a hundred backup plans, because I’m a planner by nature (who moved to a city where risk averse people risk a heart attack). I can only do so much in posting and reaching out, the rest are beyond me.
Times like these drive me crazy, because knowing the plan makes me feel safe. Instead this is like being suspended in mid-air, much like that scene in Alice in Wonderland where she’s falling down but isn’t quite sure how she’s even falling (or floating) and where it’s headed. Then I remember that I was thrown into New York, completely unprepared. And today, I’m not just alive, but thriving, despite myself.
Around this time last year, my friends and I strolled along a cherry blossom-lined street in Pontocho, Kyoto, and I couldn’t help but imagine how incredible it must be to live in such a place.
This is one of my favorite photos of Osaka. I like to remember it, just like this.
When I woke up last Tuesday, there was a tree right outside my window. The buds that were sleeping all winter have blossomed.
This is my window sill.For so many minutes, I admired it. I’ve been wavering between okay-ness and discouragement with the apartment hunt and sublet replacement, with difficult people at work, and my finances, but there was something about the tree that gave me peace. The tree didn’t need to do anything, but it’s glorious. Someone is taking care of it. I may be dense, forgetful, and blind, but there’s no denying that I’m being cared for like that tree. One the one hand, there’s a pressing concern and need, with no solution, yet. On the other hand, the craziness that I’m here in New York, living along a cherry blossom street which I walk past to and from work, with a decent job, good friends––––and that none of this happened with my planning, and forcing-it-to-work-even-if-it-kills-me kind of intensity, all tells me that Someone is watching over me, and that I am here for reasons beyond mine. God has brought me here, taken care of my needs, and hasn’t just provided up to survival. He’s even given me cherry blossoms.
The dogs on their waiting post.
I’m here because Love is calling me to experience and know Him. God is drawing me closer, whether by resting on His shoulder, or by the closeness of two beings engaged in a wrestling match. When you grapple with someone, you’ll most likely know what their sweat smells like (or tastes like), you’ll know their strength, and you get a glimpse of their mind, even their heart. In this battle of wills, I’m learning to accept that I’m unable to do anything on my own, even having faith or doing good, and that my plans, ability, accomplishments, and strength are futile. But He doesn’t wrestle to destroy me. Rather, like the God who blessed Jacob who won’t let go without a blessing, God wrestles with me for an ultimate good, for a perfect love. Even if I don’t fully understand right now. There’s more at stake than the obvious.
It’s been tough, but I can see how God knows me, and loves me personally. He’s wrestling me to a point where I’m realizing that the best gift of all isn’t the trees, but the blessing of God. Himself. He’s wrestling me to purpose that in this life, I only need one thing, and I can glory only in one thing, and that it is Him. Times of struggle, confusion, brokenness, and vulnerability are uncomfortable, but they wake me up to cry out, to seek significance in a greatness that is eternal, and beyond myself. The answers to problems are not ends in themselves, but a means to a higher end, and that is: the knowledge of God. This is the end, and also a beginning: to know that there is a God who loves me, who is powerful, who guards me jealously and faithfully, and whom I will trust and love with as much of what I am.
To wrestle, to seek, to touch this Great Unknown is to become alive.
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on him while he is near.