Dearest Rachel –
Looking back over a number of these entries, it’s somewhat embarrassing to see how often everything is peppered with first-person pronouns. “I,” “me,” “my,” and the like are spread all over the place, when this is supposed to be about you.
And yet, just about everything I know about you comes from my own perspective, so of course there’s going to be a lot of this going on. It’s all I know in terms of how to talk about you, after all. And of course, what else is there to tell in a letter except what’s happened and been happening on my end? So it should only be expected that these missives are rather more self-centered than I’d really like them to be.
That doesn’t mean that it’s not still rather disappointing to see. After all, you should be the focus here.
And yet, this little sub-series is about to be, for the most part, entirely devoted to my own experiences. Because, while I don’t know what life decisions you made prior to our being “us,” I know the ones that I made.
And I know that I never heard His voice in any of them.
In fact, I confess to being just a little suspicious of anyone who claims to have heard the voice of God these days. Just ask Daniel; we have had discussions – some of which have gotten heated, most of which has been my fault – about the people he listens to online that claim to be “prophets” and who claim to have heard the word of the Lord directly. I find claims like that to be both audacious and possibly spurious, especially since the implication is that the Lord hasn’t finished writing His scripture, and has handed it out to this person specifically, because they’re somehow special. Now, I may be missing something in their message, but to title yourself like that strikes me as a red flag telling me not to get any closer.
At the same time, just like Chris here sings, it is annoying that God seems to be speaking to a whole bunch of other people, and not me. How am I supposed to know whether the direction I’m taking is the direction He wants me to take, unless He tells me, one way or another?
It’s particularly problematic at this moment, since there’s no denying that this is a major turning point in my life. Indeed, it’s kind of like a hairpin turn down a mountain road, when I’m far too used to driving through the flat lands of the prairie. Needless to say, it’s terrifying). But at some point, I’ll need to be making decisions about where to go from here.
And I have to confess, as much as I understand that I need to “trust in the Lord with all [my] heart,” and to not “depend on [my] own understanding,” I have never truly figured out how to “remember the Lord in all [I] do;” I have never heard His voice in the great decisions of my life. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I ever specifically consulted Him as I considered what subject I should study, who I should date, what job I should interview for or accept, or… even who to marry. And if I did (and maybe I did, in passing – why, maybe I did a number of times, but in some throwaway prayer that I don’t recall at this point, so for all intents and purposes, it might as well never have happened), I never heard His voice. Certainly, it isn’t as if the scriptures ever say something along the lines of “Hey, Randy, this career (or this girl) is the one for you,” so where else do I turn for guidance?
And yet, to finish that passage, “He [has given me] success,” at least to this point.
That’s literally all I have had to work with. I’ve spent my life just walking forward (because what other direction is there?) blindly, hoping that God would either open or close the door for me as He saw fit. And up until now, that seems to have worked. I consider my life to have been a reasonably happy and contented one. Judging from things I have heard from Daniel about his friends, ours was an exceptionally harmonious marriage (although I would suggest we were little removed in many respects from the patterns our own parents had set – which, sadly, again appears to be a series of exceptional situation). Even our financial situation has been, for the most part, prudent and secure. From an outward perspective, we seem to have been well blessed by God in so many ways.
Even in this current moment, as he and I find ourselves in this deep valley, what have we to complain about? You and I would be parted at some point in the future, regardless. It certainly would border on madness to come to the conclusion that one or the other of us were being punished by being taken away or having you taken from me – how to determine if that were so, or what precipitated it, when this is the sort of thing that eventually happens to each of us? As unfortunate and gut-wrenching as this loss has been, I have to conclude that this is all part of God’s will, and move forward.
Only… I have no idea which direction ‘forward’ is, and my past experience isn’t a particularly effective guide.
つづく (to be continued…)