Can I first of all thank those of you who expressed concern about my pounding headache yesterday… I was actually convinced to go and see the very-very-talented Steph Macleod play last night with some friends. Taking said headache to a live music event might not be the usual prescription, but it sure helped me to stop thinking about audits and have an evening off!
And to focus on God.
And to laugh with friends.
The best medicine! 🙂
And today has been quiet, calm and far more relaxing.
And I am praising God for that too.
I’ve also now hit the one week countdown. Eek. It’s a week of finishing up, handing over and trying not to forget anything important.
Today me and the girls pick up our new house keys, and begin the epic job of packing, and loading and taking apart one house, to reverse the process in another. Praise God for my wonderful parents who are driving up through the night in order to help this work more effectively… (the thought of me, Becca and Faith trying to unbolt, load and carry the sofa was a little frightening…)
I have one week left to finish up a number of projects at work, to complete the commentary of a Community Learning folio and to get my admin up to speed.
I have one week to cram a little bit more Japanese grammar and kanji knowledge into my brain before I have to put this to use in the real world.
Really scary stuff.
But most scary, most outrageous, and most shocking (drum roll please….)
Today I picked up my International Driving Permit.
I kid you not.
Here it is:-
What? You don’t believe they’d actually let took-7-times-to-pass-her-driving-test-and-knocks-down-walls-regularly-Peta legally drive in Japan?
Well, you’re wrong.
Here’s the photographic proof:-
I can validly, and legally, rent a car in Japan and drive it around.
On the actual roads.
Now, if you know how hard it is to pass your driving test in Japan, then the irony of this really kicks in. I’d read a few articles on this subject over the last year, so I knew it was both expensive and difficult, but over the last month one of my best friends has been going through the process and through the wonder of Skype-catch-ups, I’ve got to see something of this journey first hand.
And I conclude: it is SO hard to pass your driving test in Japan!!
First theory test. Presribed full on driving school in a centre. Practical test. Road driving school. Second theory test. All very strict. Very expensive. All in Japanese.
All before you can legally drive out there.
And then I thought of getting my driving permit today.
It’s not a grand tale: I went into the post office with my UK licence. I waited in line for 5 minutes. I paid the grand total of £5.50. And ‘boom’. I can legally drive in Japan.
Anyone else see the irony? Just a little?
But here’s the thing. There’s something in my UK licence that identifies me as a reasonable or a safe driver (stop laughing now please!). That little pink card carries weight in most of the countries of the world. It marks me as competent. It shows who I am and what I am allowed to do. And it legally must be taken with certainty by those who may question it.
So, if I go to hire a car in Japan, and the man at the counter says, ‘On whose authority are you permitted to drive here?’ I can confidently take out my licence, and my permit, and say, ‘Here’s my identification. Here’s my authorisation. This is me’.
It carries authority.
A tiny little bit of plastic card, with quite a small amount of information, carries that much authority. I trust it. I rely on it. I use it.
Ok, so here’s my point, can you see where this is going?
The Bible contains so many truths about who I am in God. I wrote about this a couple of days ago so I won’t list them all again, but it is literally crammed full with truth about God’s heart for us and for the world, and how that is unshakably rooted in who He is. His Word gives me authority, and in Him I am able and equipped for mighty works of faith. And yet, I sometimes find it easier to trust my little pink driver’s licence than I do the living and active Word of the Almighty God.
Does anyone else see the irony in that? Just a little?
Because the honest truth is, I’m not the best driver in the world. I make mistakes. I reverse into inanimate objects sometimes. I can’t park for toffee. But my faith in my driver’s licence as the thing allowing me to take up the challenge of driving in Japan isn’t shaken. I still know that when I show that pink card, I will be able to get behind the wheel of a little Japanese car. I know what it means.
But so often, I let my focus on myself, and my own failures, or my own fears, or my own inabilities, stop me from using and applying the Word of God effectively in my life. Which is ridiculous.
Steph Macleod make a great statement last night about breaking off fear, he said, ‘The thing is, it’s one thing to be free, but it’s another thing to be delivered. Fear keeps us in chains, but hope breaks those chains. You give a scared man hope, and he is a totally different man’.
And who God is, and what He says, and His very Word… That can’t not give us hope. Because He is Hope.
Today I spent some good time with Holy Spirit praying that He would increase my faith, and my vision and keep my focus on Him. That He would take my eyes of my own inadequacies, and onto His restoration and promises. That He would enable my gaze to be fixed and unshakable onto Jesus. And that He would give me a vision that is His. Because He sees the miracles, and the harvest and the fruitfulness that I am often blind to.
Because His promises stand firm, and they are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’.
And He that is in us, is greater than he that is in the world.