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Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!
Art credit: Gethsemane by Carl Bloch
Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. ~ John Lennon
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ~ Jeremiah 17.9
Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. ~ Colossians 1.20-22 (Italics mine)
Art credits: Bonhoeffer plaque from Wiki Commons; Cellist photo from Amanda Wen
These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
I believe that…the home we long for and belong to is finally where Christ is. I believe that home is Christ’s kingdom, which exists both within us and among us as we wend our prodigal ways through the world in search of it. ~ Frederick Buechner
I sit at my kitchen table and stare out the window.
I am weary.
I see a robin settle on the tippy-est top of a tree.
The wind is blowing him fiercely as he desperately tries to keep his perch.
I feel a sudden kinship with this robin.
I, too, feel as though I live perched at the top of a tree, fighting to keep my place, leaning this way and that, re-balancing with a flap of my wings as people and circumstances gust all around me.
Trying to fix all the pieces of my husband that don’t quite suit me.
Trying to make my kids love God above all else.
Trying to force my heart to desire God more than anything else.
I offer “suggestions” to my husband that will help him to be more like I want him to be.
I plan activities galore to train my girls’ hearts toward God and their minds toward brilliance.
I read book after book to help me understand how to make my heart like God’s.
And I read this:
And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
It shouldn’t be a startling conclusion. I am NOT the Holy Spirit. Neither are you.
Yet we so very often try to do His work for Him.
Rather, we must step aside and allow the Spirit to do His job. In His own timing.
I open my heart wide to His gentle teaching and reminding and, at least for this moment, give up my striving and balancing, allowing the Holy Spirit to surround me and give me rest and peace. Peace in knowing that He loves my family even more than I do.
He alone will heal and change our hearts.
We are often closer to God in our doubts than in our certainties…it is all right to be like the small child who constantly asks: Why? Why? Why? ~Madeleine L’Engle
And have mercy on those who doubt…Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
If we begin with certainties, we will end in doubt. But if we begin with doubts and bear them patiently, we may end in certainty. ~ Francis Bacon
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
Love, which trusts God so implicitly despite the cloud, that it is brave enough to ask questions, no matter how fearful. ~L’Engle
And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
To come to a doubt, and to a debatement of any religious duty, is the voice of God in our conscience: Would you know the truth? Doubt, and then you will inquire. ~ John Donne
To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
This (the faithfulness of doubt) is often assumed by the judgmental to be faithlessness, but it is not; it is a prerequisite for a living faith. ~ L’Engle
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
If my religion is true, it will stand up to all my questioning; there is no need to fear. But if it is not true, if it is man imposing strictures on God…, then I want to be open to God, not to what man says about God. ~ L’Engle
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy…
This essay is, in part, for my brothers who kept searching for God at different times, in very different ways, and under very different circumstances, yet both found and were found by Him.