Alrightey folks, here it is! The grand opening! My last entry was the title, and here starts the substance! Like I said, this blog is really just a journal of my days, so if you get bored, please stop reading. I don't want any bored followers! :)
Well today was a new day! It is Monday, the day that many dread. Mondays typically mean the start of work for the week, or school, or a new insane workout regime they just came up with. For me, it was the first Monday of summer, and the first Monday of rest. However, I do have plans for getting in shape this summer, so I didn't want to lay around all day (which I pretty much did anyways). I have a car, and I love my car, but driving around doesn't get much in shape except for my butt. So I've decided this summer that I'm gonna ride my bike everywhere unless I have to drive. Also, I love to frolf (frisbee golf), and I was unsure if there were any frolf courses in the Aurora area. So last night I googled "frolf in Aurora" and found a frolf course at Expo park! Woo Hoo! So I looked up the directions and it was 10 miles away! Wowee!!
I was thinking to myself, okay Jacob, summer just started, you're not ready for a ten mile bike ride. So I closed down google, and watched TV. Reminder: it was still Sunday, so it's okay for me to be lazy still. :)
As I mentioned, my brother is in a little trouble with the Law, and he is supposed to keep his head low. Well, I went downstairs to get something out of my room, and what did I find? My little brother doing something ILLEGAL! This is the kid that just got out of prison no more than 36 hours ago, and is doing illegal activities! I'm not gonna go into details, but boy howdy was I pissed. I already have this feeling that my brother has no care or consideration for anyone in my family who has cried and cared for him since the whole law mess started. So, I left. I was angry and needed to get out of the house. I grabbed my skateboard (which I barely use) and set off down the road. Fighting back tears, I began to scream at God.
"Why are you doing this? What is the big point here? I don't understand what this is working for good!!" I trust the Lord with all my heart, and that is why I was so upset. I felt that He was just allowing all of this junk to happen, and I couldn't figure out why! I asked Him if all truly does mean all, (Romans 8:28), then why is my brother hurting my family so much? What is the good that is to come??
I must have been outside for a solid hour screaming and fighting with God, and it felt good. Side note, can I just say how great it is that we have a God who is so open to our words? He sat there and listened to me wail about little things patiently, so that I could get it off my chest. I'm reminded of Job, how he was so angry with God, never lost faith, but was angry. He shouted and cried and was furious, and the Lord listened to his every cry until he was finished. Wow! That's cool! After my ranting and raving I was reminded of a man named Jacob from the Bible who literally wrestled with God, and I laughed out loud. I was living my name. haha!
Warp back to Monday. It's 9am, and I'm laying in bed trying to decide if I'm gonna go on that bike ride. I do my quiet time bible studies in the morning, and it was beautiful outside, so I figured I'd knock out two birds with one stone. I jumped in my shorts, threw my bandanna and glasses on, filled my water bottle, grabbed my bible and notebook and took off. There is this bike trail next to my house that runs almost 20 miles north if you take it all the way. I was not planning on doing this, but there are many parks scattered across the trail, and I planned to stop at one to do my QT and rest a bit.
3 miles later I pulled over into Horseshoe park, opened my Bible and began to read. In my conversation with God last night, I was considering turning my brother in. Horrible, right? How could anyone think to turn his own brother in? Well, here's why: He is rude, pretentious, uncaring for others, selfish, self centered, and shallow. He puts aside all of the time, money and effort my parents have put into keeping him out of prison just so that he can have his fun. So to be honest, I had good reason to turn him in. The Bible tells us that if someone sins against us, we should talk to him, and if he does not listen to you, talk to him with another person, and if he does not listen to you both, take him to the church. If he does not listen to the church, treat him as a tax collector and a heathen.(Matthew 18:15-17) Naturally, in my anger that is the first verse that came to mind last night, and I intended to spend my quiet time asking God what I was supposed to do as a follower of Christ.
I sat down and was reminded of a chapter in Romans that talks about obeying the law. Romans 13 discusses the importance of following the law because God has ordained every law to be set up as it is. He has placed every mayor, governor and president in his place, so to disobey them is to disobey God. I turned my Bible to Romans 13, and glazed over it. But instead of stopping at the end of Romans 13, I read on into Romans 14. Romans 14 is a whole different battle, and it really struck me this morning. I pulled out some key verses, and I would like to write them down to remember them. **I'm reading a New King James Version, so if it doesn't match up with your Bible, check your version and look it up online or something.** :)
Romans 14:10 "But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
14:12 "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God."
14:14 "I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean."
14:15b-17 "Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
14:19 "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and things by which one may edify another."
14:21 "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak."
You know what I learned today? I learned that what my brother does is messed up, but it's messed up because I see it like that. Now, as a philosophy major, this is all I study: Perception. So if I perceive that him doing illegal things as wrong, they are indeed wrong. But I don't like that. To me, that smells like moral relativism. So what do I do in this situation? I realized that my brother is not doing things that edify, and that is wrong, but am I judging him? yes, I was at the moment. Am I the one making the final call on his life? No. Absolutely not. Jesus is Lord, not myself. So here is my conclusion: My brother will stand before God, just as I will. It is my job to encourage him to do the right thing and edify him. It is my job to lift him up and to trust that God Almighty is doing His job.
My quiet time today gave me such peace; knowing that God is in control is hard. I can't even tell you how many times I've learned this lesson. haha! Jesus is Lord, and He is doing His good work! Everything is innately good to Him, and I can't change that. He loves my brother just as much as He loves me. He will judge my brother just as He will judge me, so I can be peaceful knowing that I don't have to carry that burden.
The issue still remains of my parents. No matter how you spin it, they are hurting from my brother's actions, and I still don't think he gives two hoots. But I could be wrong. All I can do is pray that he will see the Lord in his time of deep need, and all I can do is pray that the Lord will guide him in the right path. It is my job to pursue peace, and to do the things that lift up my brother and brothers.
So am I healed of my angry passion? Probably not. It will probably rise again, as it always does. But God is faithful, and will continue to patiently teach me this lesson: that He is in charge, not me. I'll still be angry with my brother for being a dolt, but there's not much I can do about that. It's in God's great and powerful hands now. :) That is freedom, my friends. I no longer have to be burdened with the little things, because He is in control.