Thanks be

Pulling my head out of the water long enough to give praise where praise is due:

Greek has been consistently kicking my butt. You know that [verse in Collossians](http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians%202:15;&version=31;) where Jesus is depicted as a Roman general returning from battle, bringing back disarmed powers and principalities as a “public specticle”? Well, replace the principalities with me and Jesus with Greek, and you’ll get a pretty accurate gist of how I’ve been feeling about that class lately. I *love* languages, and Greek is pretty fascinating to me, but rote memorization has never been my strong point by any stretch of the imagination. (Remind me sometime to tell you about my experience in fourth grade with the multiplication tables…) I suck at it. I’ve got to have some interrelated network of ideas to hang things on, or they just slip right out of my mind. And with this class, the pace is just so fast that learning feels more like cramming – constantly. It just doesn’t let up for a minute.

I was getting to the point where I absolutely hated it. I was getting to the point where I was, you know, destitute; broken; desperate.

I was getting to the point where it actually occurred to me to pray.

I *have* been working on my Christian disciplines lately. They tell you that seminary is the time when you’re most likely to fall away from healthy Christian devotion, but everything currently seems to be stacked in my favor: 100% religious subject matter, devout church community that emphasizes public prayer, *incredibly* devoted and supporting wife… The tide is definitely moving in the right direction in this area of my life. But I’m still not exactly “walking in the spirit” the way I was when I was, say, 18.

And I suppose there’s a certain interference of pride in there somewhere. I’m a smart guy. Study is not exactly something you want to display for everybody. It’s more like something you want to do behind your back, so nobody really notices. Like my Greek professor said of his subject matter: It’s like underwear – it’s important that you have it on, but it’s no great honor to you if it’s showing.

But all this rote memorization. It was killing me! I *can* do it, but it hurts so much to even think about, like cheap cough syrup. The problem wasn’t so much my capacity, but the character of my mind: my heart whined and cringed and pouted when I sluggishly would remind myself that I really probably ought to get out those flash cards.

Evil flash cards.

So it finally occurred to me to pray. I confessed to God that it had been His grace to give me a good mind, but that I had been cheap in using it when it came to any kind of rote memorization. I asked him to help me change the leanings of my heart so that it would be easier for me. Not that the actual memorization would be easy for me – He’s already done that – but that I would have a will to do the work, maybe even to enjoy it. After all, isn’t the shaping of the human will His specialty?

It was just a simple prayer, but for the last five hours or so, it’s been transformed to thanksgiving. I also have several largish passages of scripture memorization for another class I’m in, and since my prayer, I’ve memorized (probably just short-term) 2 Timothy 3:15-4:12, Romans 8:28, Acts 2:42, and Collossians 1:28. I’ve also put in around 3 hours of raw flash card work, only letting up to write this post.

Hey guys, did you know that God honors prayer? If he can so quickly remold my heart in this little thing, what else is He ready to do?

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