Trust/Listen

download (3)

I have again been struggling with big questions about my own health, work, and the way forward.  I have tried too long to deal through my own strength. This has only led to more stress.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling the inadequacy of my own efforts.  I felt swamped by the burdens I was piling upon myself (more than just what the circumstances of my wife’s illness, and life and general were presenting).  In that despair  I was presented randomly with a passage on Facebook:  Jeremiah 29:11  “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”  This was marvelous as it said He had a plan for me.  I found relief in that,  but I still held some of myself back.  I needed to trust Him, over me!

The result of holding back was another day of despair.  I had yet to fully surrender (an ongoing process, I am learning). I have spent this afternoon asking for guidance, and  seeking the same kind of peace I found back on the 18th.  

Then the message became clear.  No Facebook posting this time, but the “still small voice.”  It reminded me of the words of Isaiah 55:8-9: 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I did again find some measure of relief.  He is reminding me to let go, to open my eyes, my heart, and my spirit to His ways.

I do not as of yet have all the answers to the questions before me, nor in the path He wants me to follow, but I now have comfort that the answers are there.  Not for me to invent through my own cunning or effort, but rather they are their to discover if I only stop and listen to His Spirit.

Lord help me to think as you do, and trust in you.

Padre

When Life’s Road Is Rough

 

dry wash lane

#CCC

When Life’s Road Is Rough

When life’s road is rough –

When troubled is the way –

We need not trod alone –

Wearied by the path of the day.

 

When life’s road is rough –

A journey over uneven ground –

A easier way, a helping hand –

Is there for you to be found.

 

When your road is rough –

When you are weary and forlorn –

In the Saviour, your heavy burdens

No longer need to be borne.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)

Padre

 

Crimson’s Challenge #22

“Permit the Children”

children-playing-on-grass_1098-504

The Spirit was definitely speaking to me on this topic on Sunday.  I had a strong tug to address it in an upcoming blog, then while in the period right before worship when families are arriving it hit me again.  Worship began, and my mind and heart were running with this message.  Then – Bang – Pastor Rich called all of the children, young people, and the Sunday School teachers forward for the congregation to pray them.  The prayer was for them to make their relationship with God their own, and not just that of their parents.  It went on to ask for their growth in faith, and finished with thanksgiving for their example of child-like faith.

What strikes me most powerfully, is that those were the exact points that had been revealed to me in the lead up to the worship.

I was raised at the periphery of faith.  I was christened, we went to church at least at Christmas and Easter, though to be fair there were longer periods of regular attendance as well. This all in a “High Church” setting, and the religious education I received outside of this was limited.  We did pray at bed-time, “Now I lay me down to sleep . . . .” We had a Bible in the house, and there was a clear reverence and ethos in the home, though not necessarily, “This comes first.”

My initial relationship with scripture is a case in point. We did not read the Bible.  We did however have at least two different collections of Bible Stories for Children books, which were indeed part of our nightly ritual.  But the Bible itself was a mystery.  When my reading ability was up to the challenge, I began to flip through the family Bible. This was a book, which I could easily find wordier versions of the familiar Bible stories in, and large portions (mainly Old Testament and genealogies) which were inaccessible.  But, what really struck me as a child of ten or so, was the “magic” of the Bible. [Okay here we see child-like understanding coupled with child-like faith”].

I would pick up the Bible and open to a passage.  I would read it, I would flip to another place – and – “There it was again!”  God was speaking to me! I would read about a king in Israel and then there he was again.  Jesus would tell a story or do a miracle, and boom “He would do it again in a different place.”  Such was my level of understanding.

Shortly afterward, a friend invited me to Vacation Bible School.  During that summer of daily meetings, and activities, the scriptures were opened to me more and more.  In my pre-teen life things were changing.  My faith was growing.  While still attending liturgical church, I at that VBS responded to the call to pray the “Jesus come into my life” prayer.

That “life moment” was  the beginning of my being allowed to sit at the feet of Jesus.   A child yes, but now a child of God.

                                             Jesus and the Children

“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them (Mark 10: 13 -16).”

Let us not only permit the children to come to Jesus.  Let us guide the way.

Padre