The Summer Before College
It was the summer before I headed off for my first year at college. On the surface, everything looked fine, like a placid sea. I was a soon-to-be college freshman at UC Davis. My days of sleep deprivation and mental breakdowns because of college applications and AP classes were officially over. Since I didn’t need to fulfill a checklist of summer homework as in years past, there was no surge of guilt from lazing around. I had all the time in the world (well three and a half months to be precise) to spend with family and friends.
Beneath those calm, lulling waves of summer bliss was a deep undercurrent of spiritual turmoil. Something occurred in April of that year that left me in a massive heap of confusion. Each time I attempted to decipher God’s purpose behind that event it felt like attempting to draw a concrete message from one of Pollock’s jarringly chaotic art pieces. What does that one dollop of red mean? Why splatters of yellow there but not here? What do those lattices of stringy black make me feel? Well, I don’t know, ok? I don’t know!
At the Center of My Turmoil
My biggest and most galling questions at the time centered on God’s will. Before what took place that April, I’d never felt more sure of my intimacy with God’s will. In fact, I wouldn’t have hesitated half a millisecond to answer that by making the choices I was making that, yes, I am doing His will. Then came that faithful April morning and everything I’d been so cockily confident in unravelled into shreds.
Try as I might, with prayer and tears, I couldn’t make sense of what took place. With each broken utterance of “Why, God? How could you allow this?” another hairline crack appeared on my faith till soon that undercurrent escalated into a tempest of sorrow and doubt and wilder confusion. Though I never confessed aloud with words, I was growing subconsciously less and less sure of God’s nearness and love for me.
God’s Gracious Guidance
In retrospect I see that I was the one in the wrong for that situation, but at the time, with my spiritual wounds so raw, I was still blind to my own sins. Nevertheless, God was gracious to me. Each time I think of how quickly He eased my swirling confusion and began the process of healing, I can only humbly lower my head and give Him thanks. Truly, I wasn’t deserving of such a rapid and stern response. He could have left me suffering under the consequences much longer without His intervention, but He didn’t.
That summer my church’s youth group gifted all the members of my senior class and me an innocuous, little book titled Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung. I’d put it away soon after I received it and didn’t pay it much mind. Then, feeling restless one sultry mid-July day, I decided to browse the many knick-knacks that had accumulated on my desk over the months and my eyes fell again upon that book.
Thinking, “Why not?” I flipped open its cover and began to read. Boy, was I surprised by what I found. Some of the primary points DeYoung distinguishes early in the book are God’s will of decree, God’s will of desire, and God’s will of direction. If you’re super intrigued by what all these mean, I recommend this helpful book review by Tim Challies. Through the book, I learned that I had an opaque understanding of God’s will all along, and THAT was the stalk of my problem (the root of my problem turned out to be pride and the flower was the consequential event). This would be the first in a long line of many more humbling realizations to come over the next two years.
I don’t say the word “humbling” with any bitterness in my heart. God has taught me even before this period of turmoil that while pain often presupposes humility, joy and thanksgiving alway follows. There is nothing more effective in drawing my praise than seeing God mold me in the likeness of His son (except perhaps seeing a soul saved).
Why I decided to be a Christian Book Blogger
While I acknowledge Christian books are absolutely not substitutional for Scripture itself, that they do not even come close to holding the same level of authoritative power as Scripture, I have found they are useful tools for our spiritual lives. They can help us dig deeper in our day to day Bible reading by dusting off the coatings of contextual nuances for a clearer understanding. They can present beautiful examples of faithful Christian living through Biblically designed characters. They can share with us the much needed wisdom of a brother or sister from across the globe or even from a different epoch. They might reveal themselves to be God’s way of providing gracious guidance in your life during a time of confusion and hurt as Just Do Something did for me.
If you read my about page or some of my earlier posts from 2020, you’ll find that I started off blogging in the general Christian niche before settling as a Christian book blogger. One reason for switching was because I have a profound fondness for reading. The other reason is the one I’d just explained in this post: Christian writing can be useful tools for our spiritual lives. Perhaps one of my reviews will direct another member of the Family to a book that will encourage them in their pursuit of Christ. Perhaps another will point someone unfamiliar with God to a book that will right their misgivings towards Christianity.
I don’t know a hundred percent if these scenarios might actually happen. But this is what I pray would happen, even if it is to just one or two people for however long I continue book blogging. God works in mysterious and oftentimes unforeseeable ways, so who knows. What macythoughts might offer for one reader might be completely different for another. As a Christian blogger, I’m just going to sow my seeds however I can and leave their growth in His hands.
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Hey there, it’s Macy! If you’re new to macythoughts, I encourage you to check out my About page to learn more about who I am and what macythoughts is all about. Also feel free to connect with me via social media or my contact page. I love meeting people and would always cherish a new friend.