Facebook reminded me that years ago, while I was a teacher on spring break, I lamented the fact that I wasn’t selected for jury duty. At that time, I was excited at the possibility of serving on a jury while I was on vacation. I didn’t mind going into court, waiting around, or even sitting in the jury box. I had the week off from work and thought it would be interesting to actually participate in a trial. I reminded everyone on FB that it was our civic duty to participate in the whole process. I bashed the people who used lame excuses to get out of serving, and I complained on Facebook when I wasn’t selected, despite my enthusiasm for the process.
Fast-forward ten years, and I have a different take. For the first time in my adult life, I received a summons to serve as a juror on a Federal Grand Jury. The first thing I noticed was the court was in San Francisco. San Francisco?! I live in South San Jose. The other shocking detail was that the grand jury would last 18 months. Eighteen months?! That is a year and a half of my life! Granted, the jury would only meet once a week for that duration, but that is still a huge time commitment, especially when you factor in the time I would have to drive to and from The City. How are people supposed to work, let alone look for a new job with that type of scheduling restriction?
Images courtesy of Lorianne Lee
There was a month between receiving my summons and my call-in week. That was a lot of time for the enemy to get in my head, for me to complain, and thankfully, for God to speak. I was struck by how drastically my perspectives had changed about jury duty. As usual, God used this experience to show me the status of my heart and gave me insights into my relationship with him. What was the biggest difference between the two scenarios? Was it because I no longer believed in my civic duty? Nope. It was all about convenience and a lack of perceived control.
I am a self-admitted recovering control freak, but God showed me how I also allow convenience, or lack of it, to affect my faith. It was easy for me to show enthusiasm for jury duty when I had zero plans for the week. Now that I’m searching for a job and would have to drive up to San Francisco, it’s neither convenient nor easy, so I grumble and wish I didn’t have to do it.
I asked God to show me other ways inconvenience affected my walk with him.
The Healing Grove Health Center sent out a request to sponsor uninsured people in the community. I could afford to do that. But the enemy immediately spoke into my fear and lack of control by reminding me I would soon be without a job. It really isn’t a convenient time to give, taunts the enemy. Who knows how long I’d be able to sponsor someone else, let alone have enough money for myself.
I don’t want to be a Christian only when it’s convenient, easy, or when things go the way I think I want them to. I would like to be the type of believer who chooses to follow God and boldly professes his goodness even when faced with uncertainty or when it’s inconvenient. I know all I can ever have is perceived control anyway. In the face of the unknown, I want to choose God.
I have the opportunity to choose God in the midst of more uncertainty. We are now two weeks into the COVID-19 shelter in place mandate. Some people are acting out of fear and unnecessarily hoarding. I am (relatively) healthy and would most likely be fine if I contracted it. However, I am choosing to take a servant’s posture to help flatten the curve. Self-isolation is highly inconvenient and I definitely feel like the world around me is filled with more unknowns, which is scary. But in the craziness, God reminds me of his goodness. He reminds me of his promises and his character. God reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for and how I can share that hope with others.
I have no idea what’s next, but I can choose to follow God even when I feel things are out of my control or inconvenient. I can serve on jury duty without worrying about the commute, time commitment, or how it may affect my job search. I can choose to return to work instead of staying at home in my safe little bubble. I can choose to donate money to help others, because God has given me the money to do so. I choose to do all of these things as a way of saying my faith and trust is in God, even when it’s inconvenient.
Lorianne Lee is one of the old-timers here at The River, having been a part of our church since our Sunnyvale days. She has been an active member of our community serving in a variety of ministries, mentoring, volunteering, and participating in and leading small groups. Lorianne is a doer, always finding herself busy and out of time. She is currently in a season of trying to slow down so she can be more present to God and those around her.