So at this point it might be important to mention where I am. Most likely, the only people reading my blog are people that know me personally. I mean, you could all be sharing my blog with other people you know that do not know me, which would be nice, but if you aren’t that’s ok. Anyway, if you do not know me, then what you do need to know is that I am in Italy. You need to know that because context is important to the story I am about to tell.
Schools in Arezzo got out for the summer today. I teach middle school back in America and my kids went nuts on the last day of school. They all gathered in the already cramped hallway, held hands and watched the clock as it got closer and closer to the bell ringing. When the bell finally did ring they screamed like banshees about finally being high school kids as they tramped through the hall and out of the door. I haven’t seen most of them since that day and it kind of makes me sad. But let’s compare my end of school experience to Arezzo’s end of school festivities.
Apparently the thing to do here is to go to parks with water bottles and throw water on one another. Which is actually a bit humorous because they have to stand in line to fill up their water bottles. That means they stand in line for several minutes to get a full bottle of water only to empty it within seconds and repeat the process. It all seems like a tedious process, therefore I find it humorous. This afternoon I witnessed something of true Italian branding.
I was seated on a park bench and two teenagers, who could not have been any older than 13 or 14, walked over and sat on a bench across from me. Within seconds they were sprawled out on the bench kissing in rather disgusting ways. I mean, no one really wants to see that. AND you are a child. Stop that. Because I am American and it is still not completely socially acceptable to do that in public in America, it is hard not to gawk in amazement at how little these kids care about who sees them. That is not the point of the story though.
As I am trying not pay attention to these kids…..minutes later…..a group of boys come around the corner with water balloons and bottles. They are sneaking up on the young couple who have been going strong now for 5 minutes. The group of boys run into an older lady who has stopped to take a picture of the young couple, because she has also notice their unending make out session. I couldn’t help but laugh at the whole ordeal. Finally the boys start chunking the water balloons and flinging water on the couple. It caused this huge scene and the older lady stood by to watch. I just continued to laugh. Welcome to Italy. All of this was taking place while I was attempting to contemplate life.
Yesterday I wrote about trusting in God’s provision even through confusion. With that comes hearing His voice. Sometimes I am really confused about what I know that God is doing. Other times I have no clue what God wants for me to do. In that case, I am not really confused about anything, I just do not know anything. I’m not sure which place I dislike being in more.
I am sure that all of us wish that God would just shoot us a text message (because writing on the wall is so yesterday) with what directions He would like us to have next. But as we all know, He just doesn’t work that way. Where would the trust be? If that happened, we wouldn’t have to seek His face for direction. Guess what? He wants us to seek Him. So here I am; seeking Him. Now how do I hear from Him? I just wait and trust and pray for an open heart and an open mind.
Newsflash: I am terrified to make a good decision that is not a God decision.
It may be all good and commendable, but if it isn’t God, it’s not good.
Unfortunately, none of that helps me to know what God is saying or doing. So in the midst of the Italian youngster escapade in the park today, I was reassured of my certainty in uncertainty. Two incidents in the book of Acts mention the Holy Spirit speaking.
“And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”
“the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”
God want Philip, Barnabas, and Saul to do something. The Holy Spirit made that very clear when it was time for them to do it. In neither situation are we told that they were necessarily seeking something from God. In Acts 13, the church was together, worshipping. They were directing their hearts to the Lord and He had something to say.
Acts 13:2 is followed by this:
“Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
In addition to these verses, I came across a few things today that stood out to me.
The church is God’s launching pad to send people out into the world on mission.
As we seek God through worship, He gives us specifics about our mission both as individual believers and as the church.
I may not know what God is saying or if He is really saying anything right now, but I can be assured of a few things.
1) When God wants us to know things, the Holy Spirit will speak.
- Seek God through worship and prayer, not for answers, but to know Him. It is while we are doing that though, that He will speak if He needs.
- Ultimately, worry is in vain, because His Word reminds us:
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
So church, worship the Lord our God. Seek His face because it is His face. The more we seek Him, the more we find Him. He meets us there. Church, pray for one another. Pray for what God is doing amongst you and within in and around you. God desires to use the church collectively. At times He will speak to individuals. At times He will speak to you collectively. Seek Him that you might hear Him.