My head throbs. It slumps toward the table. I jerk back, eyes shooting open. I look at the time. Seven thirty reads the clock at the tiny right hand corner of my computer. The sun’s descent begins to take its toll on this busy student. Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca from his Eleventh Sonata in A is still singing in my earbuds, in an effort to keep me afloat. The computer screen is still there staring back at me. My eyelids begin to get heavy. The music fills my head, and all I want to do is fall deep. Deep, deep down into a feathery bed.
Footsteps approach. I hear the sound of a soft tread over the sweet, classical music. In comes Mother, bearing gifts. Well, not gifts, but a cup of tea and a smile. Those are gifts enough for me. I smile. I had been in my room cooped up like a hermit all day and here was a welcome sight. I begin to hear everyone dancing downstairs. My whole family listens to the Piano Guys, clapping, and laughing. Mom, in an attempt to pull me away from my taskmaster (Lord Desk), urges me to take some time downstairs with the fam and drink some tea. Ready to say farewell to the Evil Overlord, I put on a pair of fleecy pants, clothe my feet in Hobbit slippers, and plop downstairs for leisure and laughter.
But then it ends. And I return upstairs. My George Washington paper is still due on Monday. It still needs proper footnotes and a Turabian bibliography (who uses TURABIAN????). The twenty textbook chapters and notes I have to take still glare at me from across the room.
“Where did you go?” They ask, maliciously. I glare back and let my head fall in my hands.
So you might have noticed the new look around here and not to mention the new name. I took it off of some inspiration from Mr. Tolkien, who once wrote “of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.” So, there you go. The Lord God has whisked me away and off on an amazing adventure. Now I’m finding myself doing and saying things that are totally altogether unexpected. It took some thought, but I’ve finally done it. How d’you like it? If you don’t like it, don’t tell me lolz. (Just a heads up: today’s post is NOT about clowns)
I’ve been studying.
There’s been a lot of academia going on in my life, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I can’t get up in the morning. I’ve never loved coffee so much as I do now. There’s a history paper due on Monday, a new essay on texting/driving research, textbooks to read, notes to take, lectures to watch, and prayers to pray.
I hear the alarm at five a.m., and I practically murder my alarm clock. Mom says she can hear me smack it from her bedroom, which is not that close by. It looks something like this, I guess:
*Do not try this at home.*
Nine o’clock is work, and at one o’clock I get off and start school. School lasts until as long as it takes. Seriously, I don’t have a time limit for school. Some days it’s five-thirty, and others, like today, it’s seven.
I end up falling in bed exhaling like mad. It feels like I haven’t slept in years and have been holding my breath for millennia. There seems to be that “settling in” motion that gets one comfortable in bed. It happens for me, and something else happens along with it.
Jesus taps my shoulder.
Then I remember. He’s always there, never leaves, and never forgets. Unlike my tired self, all wrapped up in blankets like a caterpillar in a cocoon, He never forgets.
I gasp, and my heart sinks as I remind myself that I haven’t even thought of Him all day. There’s this hole that starts to form as I realize that I have failed to acknowledge the Creator of my every breath. The Sustainer of my life itself. The One who has called me to every task during the day and guides me to every moment of refuge. Of course, we had an hour alone to talk before I left to work, but where did I push him to throughout my daily routine? The back of my mind?
It’s a bit lonely back there.
I feel remorse rushing over me like waves on a beach, and my heart is overwhelmed with sorrow. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry!”
I know He forgives me. And yet, the same thing happens the next day. And the next. I wind up in bed, with Him next to me, waiting for me to call His name. I do, and over and over I ask for precious atonement. It infuriates me, and Shame practically holds me by the throat in a grip of iron. He laughs at me, pointing His finger in malice.
Sometimes, in the busiest, most insane of times, I lose track of Christ in the grand scheme of things. My mind is a road full of traffic buzzing every which way. Jesus just stands there waiting for me to call out to Him in the middle of the ruckus. In the midst of the hubbub and conundrum. As my brain fires off in a million directions, still He stands, waiting. Never reproaching my ignorance or stupidity. When He finally sees me glance His way, He smiles, and I run to Him with open arms.
“In this process work does not cease to be work; but the severity and rigor of labor is sought all the more by those who know what good it does them. The continuing conflict with the It remains. But at the same time the breakthrough has been made. The unity of prayer and work, the unity of the day, is found because finding the You of God behind the It of the day’s work is what Paul means by his admonition to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). The prayer of the Christian reaches, therefore, beyond the time allocated to it and extends into the midst of work. It surrounds the whole day, and in so doing it does not hinder work; it promotes work, affirms work, and gives work great significance and joyfulness. Thus every word, every deed, every piece of work of the Christian becomes a prayer…”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from Life Together pg. 75-76
As Bonhoeffer asserted, we are given the drive forward by prayer to our God. We cannot be properly equipped to live and work our tails off without some source of energy. Christ is both our source of energy, our joy, and our hope. We work for Christ, and we call out to Him in it. We work for Christ, and we praise Him in it. We work for Christ, and we glorify Him in it.
We go from being just an “It,” running around like heck trying to get everything accomplished; with prayer we become a “self,” loved by God and fulfilling His purpose.
Prayer throughout our days draws us closer to Christ’s love and grace. It takes our eyes off the madness and endless energy of work. We are encouraged on by His soothing Presence and inexplicable joy. He cannot be lost in the stampede called Life when we are constantly talking to Him in the middle of every little thing.
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
– Philippians 4:13
Fellow workers, college students, and anyone with a truck-load of stuff to do, let us take heart. Our Maker has, indeed, put these tasks before us. No matter how small or big they are, He has given them to us to see through. Is it not, then, fitting for us to call out to Him when things get tough? When we fail to understand how or why we ought to do what we ought to do, is not this question best asked of the One who entrusted us with the task? In the words of David, “But certainly God has heard me; He has attained to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me” (Psalm 66:18-19 NKJV)!
He will not turn away, and He will always be there. His presence urges us forward, and He gives us the strength to fight another day.
Don’t lose heart, friends! For in due season, you SHALL reap a harvest! That’s my snazzy paraphrase of Galatians 6:9. Just keep studying, just keep studying…