Bright lights, thrilling beauty, throngs of people seeking purpose and prizes, it's a whirlwind of action and I can hardly keep up. I am dizzy from the unending labor the carnival requires. There are funnel cakes to cook, balloons to pass out, discarded tickets to sweep up, and the work isn't even close to being finished.
It would be nice to pack up the tents and run away- to the circus, perhaps? But would anything really be different anywhere else? We can't run away from our own weaknesses, now, can we?
I'm a pastor's wife, and perhaps that means I should have already mastered the lesson of obedience and embracing God's will. But I haven't, because yesterday's lessons aren't always sufficient for today's challenges.
So what's a girl to do when she's not too keen on this thing called God's will? How does a faithful follower of Christ submit herself to His plan when it seems too difficult to achieve? Why is God always asking us to die to our weaknesses and live solely for His sake alone?
Maybe it's because wrestling with our own will is necessary to know Christ in all His power.
There is no easy gate into God's kingdom. I wish there were. I wish we could hide away and make ourselves comfortable until we meet God face to face. But here on earth we must also face this teaching, the one that smacks of how God's plans are rarely made in light of our own preferences:
"I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." -Philippians 3:10-11
I exalt what I believe high above what I feel here at the fairgrounds. I achingly release my wish too please myself alone, realizing that "alone" is far from my heart's truest desire.
The way of Christ is not easy and comfortable. If it doesn't feel like death, we probably aren't in the the place of resurrection power. That thought isn't exactly comforting, but it is encouraging, because it means that what we feel isn't wasted pain.
I kneel here on the sticky midway sidewalk. I give thanks for my weariness, for the pressing crowds, for a God who rises to meet the needs of even the most wayward souls.
I will know Christ right here in the midst of all the crazy. He's never let me down yet.