The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun.”
Working in student ministry as with teaching tends to involve a time of high pressure during the term followed by a recuperation period during the holidays. One of the issues that became quite an issue was that of unwinding when the holidays came. It seemed that the fastest way for me to unwind was to read a novel. I would disappear into my little world with a book and read virtually continuously except for eating and sleeping. The only problem with this method was that there were side effects. First of all, while I was immersing myself in my little world, I was effectively enveloped with ME. The outcome was one of selfishness. I have noticed this in other areas of life as well. I am quite an introverted person, and my natural place of escape is within. A book or a computer are forms of escape within, but they do not satisfy. Ultimately, they leave me more empty, more selfish, and more desperate for Jesus. That desperation shows itself in the second symptom, which is - I became very bad tempered and intolerant of anything that goes wrong. So, a novel helped unwind but it caused as many problems as it solved.
What was I to do? It seemed important that I unwind. If I did not, then I would be even worse next time round. Yet it was very clear that the attempts that I made gave a very high price to Eva who had to look after the family while I was in retreat and then pick up the pieces when I exploded. Finally Jesus brought out the solution. A solution that had been waiting in the wings since before we were married.
The first verse that God had given to me about Eva was the verse above – “Enjoy life with your wife.” I had always felt a bit uncomfortable with the verse because of the end bit about “all your meaningless days.” I suppose that it was not ‘Evangelically correct’ to suggest that life was meaningless. Anyway, it was rather on the back burner. Now however as I was praying and pondering on the need to unwind, I came to this verse as I was reviewing previously memorised verses. It suddenly struck me that in Eva God had given the answer.
When I am under pressure I retreat from people, I just can’t cope with them any more. The place I prefer to retreat to is within myself, and so an artificial environment like a book or ‘working’/playing with a computer works wonders. The problem is that when I am away from relating with people, I become selfish. With Eva however it is different. I can easily relate with her even when I am pressured. Having said that it is not my natural tendency. My natural tendency is to flee from all people including Eva. So, I have to overcome that natural tendency to find the respite that Jesus has for me. This needs faith. I need to trust Jesus that, though everything within me wants to run away from reality to the safe and exciting world of a book, that I can find respite the place he chose – a relationship with my wife. Time and again he has proven himself true and it is a great blessing. Eva rather enjoys it as well.