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Zweklos Zwischenzug und Hoffnung January 22, 2014

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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It means, I have been told, “a pointless chess move, and hope.” It’s a merry dance, a chess game. It can even be fun. But enough of these zweklos zwischenzug, and I get bored and feel the pointlessness of continuing. This is my life right now.

The definition of insanity, whimsically stated, is, doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result. It’s Hoffnung gegen alle Hoffnungslosigkeit, hope against all hopelessness.

I put to you that this means prayer is probably insanity. One approaches the throne of God, humble, with hat in hand, asking for help because one has reached a point where any move they make on their own is zweklos zwischenzug, a pointless, wasted effort, something you do to fill the time between important moves on the chess board. I do this frequently, waiting to see if the result will be different. Lately, I do this daily. But prayers on my own behalf are zwecklos, while I have seen prayers for others being answered in ways that are, in a humorous twist of the word, insane.

I’ve seen simple and small answers to my requests- can I have a newspaper? was one, when I drove all over a small town looking for a paper to look for a job. Can I have a well-paid job? well, that answer, I hope is not just a straight “no,” hopefully instead it is “wait.” In Wake Forest North Carolina, that Sunday there were no papers to be found in any of the places I usually looked, including at the stores. So I gave up and in my frustration drove to my dorm, where, a few steps from the door of the dorm, there was a newspaper box with one paper in it. I put my change in, and it came out, and then my change came back to me through the coin return slot. $1.50. Awesome. I never did find a well paid job or a paid staff position in my field- yet. There’s still time, but what was wearing thin in North Carolina and on the road to Indiana is feeling scraped and chafed and ripped full of metaphorical bleeding wounds.

The big requests, too, have seen some interesting responses. Recently, can you heal this guy who got ran over by a tractor instead of letting him die? Sure. It’ll take some time, some surgeries, some mending, but already they’re calling him “superman” in the hospital. Some time ago, can I have THIS WOMAN for my wife? For a while it was anyone’s guess what the answer would be. I was in Central North Carolina and she was in Northern Indiana. She had declined to come with me when I moved. So I waited. There were beautiful ladies I met along the way, who teased, “is she really the one?” They never asked. It was my mind asking. And in my mind the battle rested when I resolved she is. And I waited.

The answer became “yes,” after an excruciatingly long time, when all the circumstances were right. She was now in South Carolina, having quite overshot my goal of her landing a job in North Carolina. Tease. The timing became right, and we were married. A series of interesting events and conjunctions occurred, that some would consider miraculous, before the wedding.

So now I have a big request and I am waiting for the resolution. Again I feel the foreboding, the helplessness, the futility of the struggle against the quicksand of my circumstances. And it’s a waiting game. Is this lesson for me, or is this lesson something I’m enduring for someone else’s benefit? I feel like a powerless pawn in someone’s chess game, and all of my moves are zweklos zwischenzug. I’m doing stuff. I’m doing stuff differently, I think, but it all feels the same.

The big request is a job that provides enough for my family, in preparation for driving lessons and insurance premiums, health insurance, colleges, etc. And eventually, retirement. All the while, in the present time I fall farther into decline a little every month, though we have been provided for, in ways some may describe as miraculous. So, when does the conjunction occur in this instance, the divine events that result in some measure of stability?

I’ve been told by people who’ve seen other people’s financial straits, “I’ve seen worse.” I don’t really want to know that, and somehow in my own financial straits it is difficult to draw encouragement from the thought. Why would God allow people to have that kind of stress and strain, when He wants us to know we can trust in Him? It’s not encouraging to know that it could be worse. I just want to pay my bills and live a reasonable kind of normal life. Please, no more woes and wants, no more needs and nothings.

We don’t get the answers of a God’s-Eye-View while we’re here. I’m hopeful another 55 or 70 years go by before I literally see things His way. But it would be nice if I had a shred of hope for things to resolve in my favor, without all of the “proceedings.”

People who have it to lend are so fickle and so predictable and so very illogical. If you can pay it back, they’ll do everything for you. Lower interest rate? No problem! More credit? No problem! How about a tall caramel cappuccino at your office while I’m bringing you the cash? Those are the people who don’t NEED it. The people who need it hear different songs. Can’t make a payment this month? OK, then it’s double next month and we’re raising your interest rate. More credit? Uh I don’t think so. Oh, and we’re sending your account to a collection agency. That is backward and criminally legal, almost as bad as a loan shark’s policy of breaking your fingers so you can’t work to pay off your debt, and then breaking your legs because you lost your job because your fingers were broken.

Criminally Legal, that’s a new expression that I think should make it into the American zeitgeist. Yeah, I guess I’m in a German kind of mood today.

Will the answer become Yes? Is it Hoffnung gegen alle Hoffnungslosigkeit? I keep praying against my own insanity. Please, God, don’t cripple me to help me. Just help me. Thank you and Amen.

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