TIME. Spring 2019 | Page 20

Circles Hope McGovern I once heard in a sermon that finding yourself back in the same situation does not mean that God hasn’t been at work in your life. These words hover almost menacingly in the back of my mind as, once again, I find myself wrestling with familiar voices of dissatisfaction, loneliness, and doubt. Once again, I spend my time trying to convince those around me I’m worthy of their time and affection, only to feel guilty for the deception when it works. Once again, I settle for that which feels secure rather than reach for that to which I know I’ve been called. And it makes me wonder how, after deliverance from every storm, my trust can be tossed and turned anew with each crashing wave of uncertainty. It seems audacious to claim God has been at work when traveling in circles feels so much like spiraling. I know what is required of me: It seems audacious to to love God and keep His com- claim God has been mandments. But still, like Jonah, at work when travel- I run from the call of God when ing in circles feels so it is uncomfortable. Like Pha- raoh, I deny the reality of God’s much like spiraling. power as soon as the memory of His omnipotence fades. Like Job, I question God’s goodness when He takes from me what I love. Like Samson, I trust in my own gifts rather than the One who has given them. Like Israel, I forge a golden calf of my pride although it was the LORD who delivered me out of Egypt. From the genesis of my exile there has been no revela- tion of the Promised Land, no exodus from the outcry of my lamentation. Time and again, although I know what is good, I do what is not, and I spend another lifetime wandering in the desert. but as the Father taught me,” and in the wilderness, did not turn to other gods. Because of this, I can look beyond my own folly to see deliverance on the horizon. In Jesus, the cycle of rebellion is broken so that it may be broken in me. Though I am brought lower with each turn in my downward spiral, Christ was brought to the lowest of the low when he died a death he did not deserve on a cross meant for someone like me. It is because of the cross that I am both already justified and not yet perfected. 1 Herein lies my hope: if all I can ask of God in times of trial is only to feel that the wound be somehow less gaping, the grief be somehow less cavernous, then all my religion is nothing more than sophistry, an elaborate delusion for coping with pain. I suffer that I may be perfected, refined by the flames of the furnace and weathered by the journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. God did not wall His own son off from suffering, nor does He allow it for me. Instead, Jesus bore his cross, although despising its shame, for the glory that was set before him, and so will I. Lord, if I am like Jonah, pursue me with wind and waves that I may not escape You. If I am like Pharaoh, send plagues until I cannot deny Your power. If I am like Job, send ruin that I may proclaim You alone are sufficient. If I am like Samson, relieve me of my own strength that I may see Yours. If I am like Israel, send me into the desert that I may hear Your voice crying out in the wilderness. God, let it be so. Hope McGovern is a senior concentrating in Engineering Physics. But there is one who, in the midst of trials, was obedient to God unto death. He did not doubt God’s omnipotence, but performed miracles in faith. He said, “I do nothing of myself, 20 Spring 2019 1 Hebrews 11:10-15