Wednesday, October 13, 2004

So how do you *know*?

I think that most people who know me can attest to the fact that I like to have quite a say in what happens in my life. Granted, I don't always shine when making decisions, however if you want to see me pissed off, don't let me give any input.
Whether it is in friendships, relationships, classes, trip planning, or even making dinner, I like to feel some measure of control of what happens: I like an ordered world. (you wouldn't be able to guess that by looking at my room, though.) Things have to make sense to me, and if they don't, I think about them until they do. Some might call this obsession, I prefer to label it as "Over analyzation."
Over the past year, Kenny and I have made the decision to go to Japan, or some other Asian country for a year following graduation. When asked what we're doing after grad, the usual reply is "Well, we're going to go to Japan for a year to teach English as a second language so that we can have a new experience and make lots of money to pay off our OSAP." Sounds logical to me.
However. More than once in the past three months, I've opened my Bible to the book of James and a little passage catches my eye every time:

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't to it, sins. 4:13-17

Let me tell you, that is a very intimidating section to read when it mirrors exactly what you have just been telling everyone. So let me amend that: If it is the Lord's will, Laura and I will go to Japan. But how do we know that it's the Lord's will, one way or another? I struggle very hard with the issue of hearing God. I very much have come to believe that God has given us common sense, a more "general" revelation of himself, if you will. If I waited to do something until I knew that God was telling me "It's ok," I have a feeling that I would never do anything! Is that just a lack of faith on my part, though? Or is there truly something that I'm just not getting when praying?

You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not recieve, because you ask with wrong motives... 4:2-3

Does that mean that when I ask about Japan and don't get any response, that that is a response in itself, because my motive for going to Japan is to pay off my debt? Or am I asking completely the wrong questions?
There are so many things in this life that I don't understand. I don't understand why I, at 21, have to go home for Thanksgiving and see my father suffer as much as he does, to the point of having to move into a nursing home shortly. I don't understand why some people have trouble keeping job offers from cluttering their desk and why my brother, who has a family to support, isn't offered one job. So basically, I don't understand a plethora of issues, and this one just seems to be cropping up right now: can we know God's will when he doesn't tell us?

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