Theological Correspondence Across the Globe, Summer 2017 {Letter #1}

Over the course of this summer, two of our writers, Lianna and Amy, will be exchanging letters to each otherfrom their personal desks straight to the blog. If you have any ideas of what youd enjoy seeing them write about, feel free to send us a note

listening-and-waiting

5.10.17
USA

Dear Amy,

I trust you are well! My youngest girl is next to me in her stroller at our local coffee shop—who knows when coloring will lose its appeal? But for now, I thought I would write my first letter to you for this summer.

You recently emailed me an article on sheep—research indicating that sheep shouldn’t merely be known as animals lacking smarts. Here’s another similar article from 2011: “They are quite intelligent animals—they seem to be able to recognise people and even respond when you call their name.” If a sheep’s intelligence is demonstrated through recognition, then perhaps ours could be described that way too. I’ve been reading in 1 Corinthians 1-2 lately and this article about sheep coincides—that our wisdom is in recognizing Christ. And this is a gift (1 Cor. 1:29).

We must appear to be “dumb” sheep from the outside—following a God we cannot see, with love, through this life’s dips and changes. We fall (even willfully, when it’s the path to following Him) into “holes,” as sheep are known also to do; He’s there and good, and His Word informs us of everything we need to know. (You’ve written on this a few times, like here and here.) On-lookers won’t always understand faith that follows like this, or know how we hope. Either the plunges on this earth (that make us out to be fools for faith) will become hills and mountains in heaven upon which we can praise Christ—who knows?—or won’t even begin to translate or compare in any manner to heaven’s great glory. Whatever, it will be good.

My girl has moved on from coloring to Winnie the Pooh now; I remember one of these movies with, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin said those words when anticipating his leave of Pooh to attend school for the first time. But I’m supposed to anticipate the future with more than Christopher Robin mentions—a personal strength of knowhow that prevails despite difficulties. We have more than we could dream of, really: “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). We have a real lack of wisdom and, yet, God’s has truly come in our lives; I have not been wise by human standards, but He is expecting that what He does in me shames the “wise” (1 Cor. 2:27). I’m to be asking—am I recognizing Him?

Am I? In this, I understand yet another way Scripture is entirely indispensable for the Christian life; “the mind of Christ”—Paul was serious. We have been given what we, concretely, follow. Far more listening, and less doing, seems to be required of me than I am used to. As changes come into view for my mind, my heart, my character—changes that feel out of my depth—I’m actually in a disposition of comfort; God didn’t choose me because of my “qualifications.” 

I’m home now, and my girl is napping. Before coming home, we made our way to the library—and there I saw two books on display about the subject of letter-writing, one of which was called (I kid you not), “A Letter to Amy.”

I imagine those books were out prior to today, available for me to notice. But my mind has become attuned to letters only recently in thinking of these summer letters to you. My attention is being pulled toward waiting and listening—seeking to recognize His wisdom first—even when it is inconvenient, unnatural, and when circumstances do not force me to do so. I am gradually becoming more attuned there. But even more—that He is attuned to me, and makes me notice Him, is grace I hardly know what to do with.

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise” (1 Cor. 3:18)—to be this kind of [wisely-led] fool!

This is some what I’ve been processing lately (thanks for prompting much of it). You? And if you have any thoughts on listening and waiting, send them my way?

always, in Christ,
Lianna