Friday, September 12, 2008

Today I want to quit

Today, I want to quit.

This is what comes from waking up in the morning and before I even open my eyes I can see the all too familiar shiny coiled snake in my field of vision that indicates a migraine. I managed to escape the headache but spent the day feeling I was wearing a physical and mental Pillsbury dough boy suit that ground the pace of the day to a halt.

It didn’t make things any better to receive a letter in the mail saying a hold was going to be put on my registration because I did not get a measles and mumps vaccination. I called the number on the bottom of the page and the fine young lady I spoke with didn’t seem to know what to do with someone old enough to predate MMR vaccinations. She stuttered when I told her I had measles when I was five and mumps when I was eight and I was vaccinated, just in case, when I was an undergrad almost 30 years ago. Apparently, I still need to be vaccinated because all of this happened too long ago. How ironic that I will most likely be getting that childhood vaccination at the same appointment where my health care provider and I will be discussing the results of my bone density test.

Later in the day I had an email conversation with a friend that confirmed my suspicions about an institution of higher education that is near and dear to my heart. The devil is at work and he is greatly interfering with the good that institution could be accomplishing. I am frustrated with my connection to that institution and I am ready to quit.

This feeling of wanting to quit has always been a strange one. I don’t really want to quit. Or at least I never have. I am just tired of rediscovering the truth that I am a sinner living in a sinful world so there is always something looming on the horizon that I don’t want to face. Deep down I know that quitting won’t fix this. We all have things in life that we want to quit and most of us can’t.

If you are the parent, spouse, or the victim of a chronic illness, you can’t quit. If you live in a violence filled part of the world, including many areas of our own country, you can’t quit. If you are being wrongfully persecuted you can’t quit. And quitting is certainly not a reasonable option if you are a Christian, regardless of your life circumstances.

No, I don’t really want to quit; I just want everything to be easy. I don’t want to face my sin. I want to quit before real repentance happens. It is not so much that I want to quit as it is a realization that I don’t want to have to change. The key to what is wrong with the phrase “I want to quit” is not the last word but the first two words: “I want.” These words put my faith in me, not in God. These words put my focus on me and not on His ministry. These words are my sin and my weakness.

I was young and now I am old;

yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken

or their children begging bread.

Psalm 37: 25

For most of his young adult life, King David had a life he probably wanted to quit. He faced real danger and real persecution and knew he did not have the option of quitting. He did not aspire to be King; he had been anointed by God. No matter his life circumstances he had to continue on the road set out before him. His words are a good reminder to me that God knows what He is doing. He knows better than I. He does not abandon His children.

Earlier words in the same psalm show me my need for change. I do not need to “quit” what I am doing; I need to ask God to change my priorities:

Delight yourself in the LORD

and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

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