Monday, September 29, 2008

Humility

Being in language school is a pretty humbling experience.
Anna and I have gone from being active participants in our church and community and otherwised productive members of society to unemployed students fumbling our way around like a couple of 4 year olds. We have old people, young people, middle aged people, teachers, retirees, secretaries, cashiers, RA's and even 18 yo's correcting our pronunciations and waiting with bemused expressions as we try to fumble along with "How are you doing?" or answering "What is your name?" We even meet with the bible school students 3-4 times per week and read scripture with them in French so they can help us.

I must confess I was getting quite pleased, satisfied, and dare I say proud of how well I was taking all of this until two things happened...
#1I was finishing a bible study in 1 Peter and ran across this verse.....1Pet 5:6 Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.......After reading this I was still in a little bit of the breaking-my-arm-by-patting-myself-on-the-back mode

then

#2. I was reintroduced by Michael Card to John 13. The set up here is actually in Luke 22:24 where after supper "....there was a dispute among them , as to whom should be considered the greatest" then (John 13:4) Jesus "rose from the supper and laid aside his garmets, took a towel and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple's feet...."

Imagine this boisterous scene of the 12 guys arguing back and forth after they broke bread about who was the greatest. I imagine a men's breakfast with discussions of the biggest fish etc when I read this......a little joking but with some serious male ego undertones.... Then Jesus who (according to Philippians 2) has emptied himself of being God to come here and already is greiving for Judas and Peter and his next 72 hours gets up unnoticed from the table. He takes off his cloak, gets the water and begins washing feet. The slave's job. I imagine a hush falling over the room, then pin drop silence as the sloshing of the water can be heard with the creak of the wood floor as Jesus moves from disciple to disciple. The silence broken by Peter's refusal in verse 6-8. "Lord are you washing my feet?" and "You shall never wash my feet" In Jesus' replies I see him sit back on his knees and shoulder slumping a bit as he (the master and creater of the universe) looks up at Peter and says in effect you don't understand but someday you will so just let me finish. He finishes washing the feet of the disciples (including Judas') and then sits back down and says "I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you".....be a servant. Swallow the pride, look out for others, humble myself under God's mighty hand so that I can say eventually "not my will butYours be done" in all aspects of my life.

After this I knew that I was not/am not humbled as Christ did, and I saw a new appreciation for Peter's admonition in 1Pet 5:8.

Continue to pray for us for our learning the language, for our perseverence and wisdom for us as well. Ian is struggling a bit with French in school and even though he keeps these things well hid behind a veneer of comic mischief Anna and I can see it.

Pray also that we (especially me) will get these lessons of humility learned quickly and that they will be imbeded in my life.

Isabelle is doing a little better and is learning more and more french daily. She is still tired by school but her clinginess and mood swings are improving.

Thanks again for praying and for those of you who have emailed a double thank you.

Stephen

1 comment:

Martha said...

What about those who leave messages on your blog---a triple thank you? And take up your wife's time by chatting incessantly via Skype? Maybe not a thank you for that...
I was cracking up at the previous entry with the Dr. Seuss reference plus Anna's accounts of trying to communicate---and I think I know what frog is in French---your favorite word so far?
But I always wonder if you---literate and intelligent, write your entries in a hurry b/c of insignificant grammar mistakes---but the paragraph about Jesus washing the disciples feet---There your gift in prose shines through---and your passion for the things most important---which I believe will carry you through language school and deputation and on to the ROC---along with lots of grunt work and prayer!