Tuesday, February 10, 2009

detroit or baltimore

Becoming a New Monastic :: Part Next

This is a confession.

On January 9th, the guys and I decided that we would go to Detroit. It was clear to me that this was where God was directing us. It was a great blessing and relief to have made the decision unanimously, and I began to develop an even greater lover for this city that I had spent less than 24 hours in (It's amazing how much you can become invested in something you commit to praying for regularly, whether a place, a person, a group, a vision...).

On January 20th, we received an email from on of the guys suggesting that we re-consider Baltimore. My immediate reaction was frustration. I had so much peace and excitement about Detroit after a difficult decision process. I think the frustration was not all bad. It was real. But how I handled the situation was wrong. I pretended it didn't exist. I never mentioned the re-opening of Baltimore as a possibility to anyone. I continued to talk as if we were going to Detroit for sure. Belinda began trying to find a job in Michigan for the summer, and still I said nothing. But ignoring difficulty doesn't make it go away.

On February 4th, Mike, Luke, Jon and I finally managed to find time for a conference call, and we chose a time to actually visit Baltimore together. Still, I'm not sure that I was not opening myself to the possibility that this was actually real. I was not willing to trust God again with my future, not willing to open my heart to a different city, a different calling. I decided we could visit Baltimore just so God could prove to us that we should move to Detroit. You see the darkness of my heart, the irrationality of sin.

On February 7th, a friend and alum of my school returned to Rochester for a visit from her new home in Baltimore. When we originally were considering a visit to Baltimore, she had offered to host us. Seeing her Saturday night reminded me of this, and I mentioned that we would probably be coming down for a visit, asking if her house would be open to us again. This was the first time anyone in Rochester had ever heard that we might not go to Detroit.

On February 8th, I went to church. In Bible class ("Sunday School") we discussed the sovereignty of God; we talked about trusting him in everything, from the words the Spirit gives us to say in conversation to the uncertain futures of our lives. I had some things to contribute to the class, the blessing of the strong foundation in scripture that I received as a child. God was trying to speak to me -- he said, "Trust Me" -- but I didn't make the connection.
That afternoon God finally used Belinda to confront and convict me of my sin. She revealed my own selfishness, showing me that now the decisions I make about my future don't just affect me. They impact my community of brothers directly, and they impact her. What if she had secured a job in Detroit for the summer under the false impression that I would be there for certain? Selfishness. I'm not accustomed to making decisions that impact others so directly. I did not realize how independent and selfish I had become. That conversation led me to realize the reasons I hadn't discussed Baltimore with anyone, showed me the terrible way I had reacted and my lack of trust in God.

God is faithful. I am doing my best to submit to him, now, to admit and live as if his way is best, even if that way is Baltimore. I know that he has my best in mind, that he will work out all things for his glory and my good. There is peace in trusting God, a true peace. I had been clinging to a false peace and security that came with the certainty of our decision to move to Detroit. The true peace of God comes when Abraham can raise the knife to sacrifice his son, to sacrifice the promise God himself had given out of obedience and trust.

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