I’ve been pretty absent from writing here lately due to a number of factors, but primarily because I GOT A JOB! Actually, right now I am actually juggling THREE jobs: my new job, cashiering at the pumpkin farm, and tutoring a teenager. And, oh yes, there is that bit about being a housewife and mother of three. (Yes, I am crazy and have boundary issues.)
My main new work-at-home job is (drum roll) since June I’ve been working as an editor for ToSaveaLife.com, a website for Millennials that addresses serious life struggles like depression, suicide, mental health, eating disorders, gender identity, faith, and relationships. I post a TON of great content, so please start following our Facebook and chiming in over there.
In almost all the ways, the job is ideal, ideal, ideal and a huge answer to prayer because we hope to add onto our 1090 sq ft. house to give sweet, artistic, introverted Addie a room of her own, a solace from her darling exuberant 4.5 years younger sister. As much as I’ve lauded how sharing is good and simplicity is important, I’ve begun to realize that forcing Addie into an adolescence bound together with Anika as roommate might be a recipe for disaster.
But I digress.
My job is for a great company, and I work from home. HOORAY!
I get to read, and proofread, and sometimes write and spend most of the day on Facebook. HOORAY!
I get to minister through the written word and real stories of people who are finding hope. Hooray.
I get to think through hard topics, fight with my faith, and wade through knee-deep controversy looking for truth and grace. hooray?
I get to spend my day looking for stories about mental illness, addiction, suicide, depression, abuse, and self-harm that somehow still offer hope and healing AND somehow don’t leave my readers in a tailspin of pain and anxiety. So I filter out the hard ones and select the hopeful ones. Hmmm.
Yup. You read that right. I filter all this information with my brain and my heart, half of the time vetoing information that is too tough for sensitive and vulnerable and struggling people.
All the stories that are too hurtful, triggering, frightening, and hopeless, I veto. Those are the ones I just have in my head.
Y’all, I’m not going to lie. That part is NO KIND of hooray. It is hard. Pray for me.
Hearing all these stories of brokenness leads me to all sorts of questions about my own faith and my belief and who God is in the hot mess of pain that many people live in. God & I, well, we are WRESTLING a lot these days. The girls in my current Bible study can tell you that I’m bringing up these totally un-fun WHY questions about times when God does or doesn’t allow or punish or heal or rescue.
I start to wonder if I am totally the wrong person to be doing my job. My life is basically a cakewalk where it is relatively easy to have no doubts and to believe that God is good, just, and merciful. But when I am up to my eyeballs in stories of injustice, and sadness, and brokenness, and sin–it is all I can do not to just WEEP.
Things that once seemed clear, transparent, and vivid now seem dark, grey, obscure, and shadowy. (Did I mention that it has been raining non-stop for the past bagillibuby weeks, days, and hours? It has. Also, tropical storm coming this weekend so–yea.)
Contributing to my angsty torment has been listening to the audio Bible and going through 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles, a portion of Scripture where I’ve been regularly questioning WHAT THE HECK!?! (Rant coming. Beware.) Why does God seem basically to overlook so much blatant sin and cultural vileness among his chosen people (POLYGAMY-MUCH?!) while annihilating others for their idolatry? Why does he reject some people (Saul) but bless others in spite of their hurtful sins (David)? If he is the same, unchanging, just God who comes to his people in the human flesh of Jesus, what do I make of his blessing on Solomon–who was basically a TOTAL sex-addict womanizer?!? What about his blessing and close relationship with David who, though he did seek God, was definitely NOT walking with him all the time?
So you’re in my head now. See how fun?!
But I feel like I have to do this. Not give up. Press. Ask these hard question. Bear into my belief. Rage against my doubt. Dig in for the answers. Because my God can stand up to this, can’t he?
It’s kind of bleak though.
So I’m still listening, and this morning I got to 2 Chronicles 3-5, which is all about decorating the temple and making it fancy with bla bla bla blessings, jewels, wood, etc. I clean the kitchen while I listen in the AM, so I was wiping the counters, halfway tuned-out, waiting for less list and more inspiration. And after three chapters of Design This Temple, into my ears, I hear . . .
13 and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,
“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever,”
the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
And it hits me like a TON OF BRICKS, the glory of the Lord was in the cloud. They couldn’t minister because of the glory, which was . . .IN THE CLOUD.
God did not appear clearly. It was not vivid. It didn’t make sense. It was obscured, mysterious, and foggy.
The people were unified and did their duty and sang their song, proclaiming his goodness and love. They were doing it all JUST RIGHT. At this point, I would be expecting some kind of demonstration of divinity that would really silence critics and offer clear answers because . . . don’t they deserve that after all the fanciness and bling they did?
But it’s a CLOUD. Just like the super-confusing way that he led them through the wilderness, God is displaying HIS GLORY by showing up in a big ball of cloudiness.
I don’t know why it struck me so powerfully, but at the same second, I was reminded of a line from a hymn. “His light inexpressible, hid from our eyes.”
“His light inexpressible, hid from our eyes.”
“His light inexpressible, hid from our eyes.”
(I’m repeating it because we are doing the thing where you are in my brain and that is what was happening.)
I googled that line and I got the whole stanza and the next is also awesome.
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.
All day I’ve been thinking about this cloudy glory, this invisible glorious unseen being unresting, unhasting–PRESENT being with whom I’m in this wrestling match over my faith. I’m thinking about this blessing of a job that feels SO heavy some days.
All this soul stretching feels pretty drab and foggy and lacking in shape. I feel confused and directionless spiritually. What is He doing with my heart right now? My heart is his temple now. He endwells me, right?!
I don’t know. But, wait, I do know that HIS GLORY IS IN THE CLOUD. For today, I have to just sing and praise and watch confusedly, not ministering or speaking or knowing what’s going on because it’s all cloudy in my heart, but you know, it’s still there. His spirit is still moving in my heart.
HIS GLORY IS IN THE CLOUD.