Friday, 24 June 2011

Leaning on my own understanding

Well you were reading between the lines alright, weren't you, Lord? 

I suppose that's not strictly accurate, is it, as you are the One from whom no secrets are hidden... so one can never be oblique with you. Yesterday I said that I wasn't going to ask why my life continues to be strewn with large boulders to climb over, but you know me better than that. You know me so well that you understand the subtext for all those times when I answer the 'how are you's with 'fine'. You know me so well that you know the agenda when I scowl and say 'Alright then'

You made me. 

So yesterday I don't ask 'Why?' and today you explain to me.

My daily devotional email today was on the text:

'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.'

Proverbs 3:5-6

Rick Warren, he of 'The Purpose Driven Life' which we're working through in our home group if I could only keep up with the reading, goes on to say:

'...understanding is not a requirement for you to start down the path (that God sets before you).'

So it's not surprising that I don't know where I am, let alone where I'm going. Your timing is just perfect, isn't it? I needed to hear these very words today

'The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day.'

Proverbs 4:18

Maybe one day I'll see the full picture. Maybe one day I'll see the other side of the tapestry and not just the messy ends of the threads. Maybe one day I'll understand why the pattern on my carpet is one of unrelieved gloom at the moment. (See 'Carpet Diem', 20.1.2011)

I love the 'gleam of dawn'. Like the first time I notice that the days are getting longer in Spring and it feels as if winter is finally receding. Like being exhausted and lonely in the night when you're awake for hours with a newborn baby and suddenly you notice that it's dawn and morning is coming. It's the spark of hope.

Rick tells me to be patient. I need to have patience. You know what you're doing. I know you know what you're doing. It just frustrates me sometimes that I don't know what you're doing. I know that you want what's best for me, and I know that you want what's best for my family too. I know that you have a Plan. I know that you can see the end from the beginning where I can only look backwards and see how far I've come - the path in front only seems to appear after I've taken a step into nothing.

I'm trying to trust you. I'm trying, honestly. It's just that those steps take it out of me. I find myself groping in the darkness and reaching for a handrail; sometimes I find that I grab hold of your hand and sometimes I can't feel it there. Sometimes my steps feel safe and sometimes it's as if the ground crumbles under me.  I believe that you'll catch me when I fall. I do.

'...all the things that make you ask 'why?' - one day all will be clear in the light of God's love.'

says Rick. So because I'm the sort of person who likes to have things sewn up - I am thinking that sometime there'll come a day when I'll understand. All will become clear. I just have to learn to live without that clarity now. I need to live with the murk. To put one foot in front of the other not knowing what I might tread in, so to speak.  For you're there too.

I'm finding it hard, Lord. Even when I don't ask why I'm wondering why. I'm also wondering what, whether, how much, for how long, and when will it end. When things are going my way I don't wonder those things half so much, do I?

'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.'

Well, leaning on my understanding is like leaning on an open door. I fall over. Or I spin around grabbing for things and finding nothing to hold onto and so I make a big fuss.  Submit? Sigh. Do I have an alternative?

Thought not. 

Tell you what, I'll do my best to submit, and you come across with the straight path. Does that work for you? 

You said so, so I guess it does.

It's a deal. 

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