Being An American Young Adult- and A Christian
Some people say God has a plan for everyone, and I used to believe that too. It’s very comforting. With that philosophy all you need to do is figure out the instructions. There has definitely been a plan for some people; Moses received some of the clearest instructions in the Bible. Unfortunately for my comfort I’m convinced that God doesn’t tell everyone what to do. The neatly concealed plan disappears and reveals a terrifying emptiness of choice. Do anything. Go anywhere. Freedom.
Unfortunately as soon as you grasp at one of those tantalizing possibilities you realize that there are hundreds of other people just like you applying. Everyone is trying to get somewhere and needs a good job. There is a competitive scramble to be somewhere else – somewhere better – or just somewhere at all. It is extremely discouraging and stressful.
On Sunday our priest gave a sermon on Moses and the burning bush, pointing out God’s frustrating habit of not answering the questions he is asked. Moses asked who am I to confront Pharaoh? God didn’t say, “You’re amazing and special and perfect for the job.” He said, “I am with you and will always be with you. I will never leave you.” Moses asked, “Who are you?” and God answered, “I am who I am.” Father Matthew asked the congregation, “Are you ok with that answer when faced with the stresses of life?”
It’s really not reassuring given God’s habits. He’s not likely to be terribly comforting if you agree to the partnership. He might help you out, might give you a miracle. He only promises to be there. Yet…
Relationships are what keep me sane in this crazy world. Friends ground me when I let my worries about the future overwhelm me. My family tells me I’m great as I am when I feel rejected by everything I apply for. Community is what makes me happy. God’s answer suddenly seems like the best gift anyone could give me.
Moses still had to work hard to follow the nicely mapped out plan, but God stood with him as he faced Pharaoh. God walked with him as he led the frightened escaping slaves on a daunting journey. God was there as they faced imposing odds and provided even more than he promised. At its core God is offering what a loved one provides: enormous courage and a feeling that no matter what happens it’s ok simply because that person is there too. And being God, he might just do a lot more.
I’m still trying to get places. After all there are exciting places to be. But also, in this world, I have to be getting somewhere (from where I am with no income and debt). The difference is that I’m now trying to get somewhere by focusing on where I am and who I am with. God isn’t particularly concerned about “getting places” most of the time, so I’m trying to travel by walking instead of flying. I’m trying to put the first and best of myself into simply living, and pour all the leftover into the draining business of getting places.
In the madness of life as a young adult, God’s strange aid is the best help I could ask for. I don’t really want God to tell me what to do. I need grounding in what is most important and best.