Monday, February 8, 2010

Recent Lessons in Humility

“The life that intends to be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening, is astonishing in its completeness. Its joys are ravishing, its peace profound, its humility the deepest, its power world-shaking, its love enveloping, its simplicity that of a trusting child.” - Thomas Kelley

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” - Micah 6:8

During the past week, I have thought a lot about humility and what it means, because in the last week, several friends have canceled prearranged plans due to either snow or personal emergencies. None of this has bothered me. Life happens, yeah some of the plan changes threw off my schedule a little, but all of the cancellations actually gave me more time to breathe, so they were gifts in disguise.

One friend has repeatedly apologized for her not showing up at an event that we planned together. She had let me know before the event, so I knew about it as soon as she knew she couldn't make it. I have been in her shoes several times feeling like I have let people down when stuff happen to me. But life happens no matter if my calendar had something else planned.

Then this past weekend, a major snowstorm hit DC hard. It snowed straight for more than 24 hours and dumped more than two feet of snow. I was supposed to attend a retreat this weekend, but it was canceled the day before due to the weather forecast. One of the organizers was upset at this; a feeling which I totally understand. Similar things have happen to me and I have felt that same feeling of being upset that I just spent so much time planning something that will never happen and I have felt defeated like I had spent all that time for nothing.

Now I see all of these times during the past week and beyond as ways to keep myself humble, because it just reminds me that no matter how much I plan or try to control my life, something bigger than me is always in control. I believe that God has plans for me and God will reveal them to me little by little. Living on God's time is not easy and being humble is not always simple. It requires putting aside my ego and fully submitting to a greater power. When I have, amazing things have happen, like finding my dream job. Thomas Kelly's quote resonates with my few experiences when I obeyed and submitted. I have felt more alive during these times, because I had been fully present during these times.

Part of the weekend, I was unexpectedly snowed in at a friend's house a couple miles away. I had wanted to weather the storm in my house where I had stocked up on food, but the snow came down faster than I had thought and I was stuck. That night, as I was snowed in, I watched the Bill Maher's documentary, Religulous that my friends had from Netflix. For much of the film, he mocks organized religion. Several times he asks hard questions and the interviewee cannot answer, such as Couldn't the writers of The Bible made everything up? He uses this as proof that organized religion is a clutch for the week-minded.

As I watched the film, I felt like I had no answers to many of the questions he asked. I started to think, maybe I am weak in my faith and Bill has a good point. But I realized faith isn't about answering questions, but about believing in something far greater than myself. I have known God experientially, not through answering questions.

Part of humility for me is knowing that I do not always have quick and ready answers to questions about my faith and I should not pretend that I do. I continue to ask myself many hard questions daily: Was it in God's plans to have a snow storm this weekend or does God control the weather really? Or why did the earthquake hit Haiti and kill 100,000 people while I am living safely in a warm house in the richest country with a nice job? Are these events really part of God's plans? Like I said before, I do not know any answers to these hard questions and I won't attempt to answer these questions, but what I do know is that I have felt God working in my life before and I know that God is still working in my life, so I will continue everyday trying, as Micah suggested thousands years ago, 'to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God'.

1 comment:

Ben Merrion said...

Great post Greg. It seems humility always involves realizing we aren't in control.