This article is written by Kaitlin Quinn on her blog at Kaitlinq.
Early mornings are a rarity for me. Nonetheless at 3am, restless and sleepless, I set my alarm for 7am hopeful that after many clicks of the snooze button I could drag myself out of bed by 8. 7am rolled around and I guess the good Lord thought that a mere four hours of sleep was sufficient. I fought it for a good ten minutes, determined I would get at LEAST thirty more minutes of sleep. My body wasn’t having it. My mind was awake and for a weird reason I was ready to start the day (at 7am!! A true miracle in itself).
Anyway, I’m supposed to meet a few friends here at this little local coffee joint. Every Saturday they have Swedish Pancakes and I guess I’ve been missing out because they look to be pretty popular. Here an almost two hours earlier than our meeting time, I grabbed my Bible, journal, watercolors, and computer and now here I am. Sitting in an overly air-conditioned building (but I’m not complaining) smelling coffee too strong for my liking and hearing the laughs of old men who look to also be spending time with Jesus…if you consider preaching your opinions to your other old man friends spending time with Jesus.
On the way over I prayed for a really sweet, peaceful time with my Father. He certainly delivered. I never want people to be fooled by me declaring myself a Christian. To be quite transparent and frank, I really struggle with my quiet times. I’m no where near as disciplined as I would like to be, and I guess that’s okay. It’s a process. But I often pray for the desire, and if the desire doesn’t come, the conviction and discipline to suck it up and spend time with Jesus because I know only good things come from it. Heading for Zimbabwe, Africa in EIGHT DAYS (!!!!), I’m looking back on the summer and realize how much more productive I could have been. Instead of feeling shame I’m opting for picking up where I’ve left off. An almost four months behind on my Bible reading plan, I take a deep breath and look forward to the day that I am so in love with Jesus, I have to pry myself out of the Word to watch netflix rather than the other way around.
Such sweet truths have been revealed to me this morning. I’m not sure why I ever stray when I KNOW how diligent and steadfast He is with me. John 9:1-7. This is a passage listed on my Zim devotionals. It’s actually the reading that was for two days ago but (no surprise), I was behind. Jesus heals a blind man. I think that alone should knock us off our seats but we often recite His works and miracles without batting an eye. Downside #1 of living in the Bible belt. The truth doesn’t seem so sweet when you hear it every day unfortunately. Because He was urgent, we should also be urgent to serve and glorify Him.
John 9:4-“We must work the works of him who send me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.”
I don’t know why it’s so difficult for us, why we wait for what we think is the “right time”. We wait until we hear God’s audible voice before we move. We claim He hasn’t called us. And maybe, He hasn’t called you internationally. But He has called you. He’s called you to serve no matter the atmosphere. Whether at home in your own comfortable life or stretching your abilities and going places desperate and dry and absolutely thirsting for Jesus, He has called you. And I wish people understood that. I’ve heard people make remarks that it’s “silly” or “selfish” to go to places like Africa to serve because there’s people in our own towns that need help. But we don’t serve to give people what they want or even what they think they need. We go because Jesus tells us to, and He wants them to know Jesus.
John 15:1-16 calls us to serve with inner strength. We should not view ourselves as servants but as FRIENDS with Jesus because He is so revealing, friendly, and good to us. When I look at it from the perspective as friendship rather than servanthood it makes it easier to understand that He truly cares for us; He’s not some mean guy who requires you follow a certain set of rules. He loves us. He is the true vine. We didn’t choose Him, He chose us. We are appointed by Him and are called to bear fruit. Apart from Him we are nothing.
John 21:15-23. This was my favorite reading this morning because it resounded loudest with me. Peter is speaking with Jesus and questions the legitimacy of Judas, knowing He betrayed Jesus. Jesus responds, “what is that to you? Follow me!” I KNOW we all at one point or another get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing that’s wrong. I am so passionate about recognizing our own wretchedness that when we recognize the flaws in others, we are quick to not judge them but that we are quick to love them and rejoice because we are fighting the same battle that manifests itself in drastically different ways. This was a reminder to serve in Love.
After this, I flipped to Psalms and picked up where I had left off.
Psalm 77. Verses 16-19 was a reminder of just how great He is.
“When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water; the skies gave fourth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.”
Psalm 78 was also full of great reminders. I mean…the entirety of the Bible is FULL of fantastic stuff, and we know that, yet we seem to forget how good it is. Verse 8 reads “a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” When I was at camp in early June, our speaker consistently spoke some very convicting truths. He questioned us asking, “Is this going to be the generation?” Over and over again. Are WE the ones who are going to get it? Are we going to understand or are we too busy reveling in our own selfish lives and how God has changed US for the glory of US?
I’ve prayed for diligence, and the past few weeks I keep hearing “diligent in the pursuit of Christ.” I know that’s my prayer for myself, and I pray it’s the prayer of this selfish generation and I pray we wake up and are productive for Christ.
Verses 36&37…”But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant.” There’s not much to say about this one. My writing on this blog has made it very evident my feelings towards falsity and fabrication. We’re all sinners. Why the heck would we need Jesus if we were as perfect as our public lives make us seem. The world is artificial, forged, counterfeit, fake, materialistic. All of these traits are disgusting. I pray that we are convicted enough to desire authenticity and a sense of genuineness that makes it acceptable to struggle. Verse 38&39 says, “Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.” We’re selfish and prideful and the yet changes everything. We’re corrupt, unfinished, incomplete and inferior, BUT…Jesus.
It was at this point that my two very best friends showed up and there are a few things said to me over coffee that stuck with me and I wanted to share. We were talking about anxiety and fear, an escalating issue of mine and something I’ve dealt with for quite some time.
“don’t call yourself an emotional person, say that you have the spiritual gift of passion.”
The other thing pointed out to me was in reference to Proverbs 31. If you’ve never read it in the Bible you’ve read it on every white girls instagram bio. “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” I love Proverbs 31 and think it’s vital but have never looked at verse 25 as anything more than cliche and overused. And then my friend said, “It’s not that you have it all together but that you know the One that has it all together.” and it clicked. That verse resonates now and I’m thankful for the friends who have been so present in my walk with Christ. So if you see it in my instagram bio now, you can know it really means something to me.
This post was rambly, disorganized, and all over the place, but I’m slowly getting more comfortable being imperfect. The best times with God aren’t planned studies or even always expected. But when you show up, so does God.
P.S. Yes, the title is in reference to that one Landon Pigg song. If you’re unaware of its existence, it’s a sweet piece of music.