Monday, November 13, 2006

Learning to be silent

Be still, and know that I am God...

In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength...

I hear my heart screaming, even as my voice falls silent. It doesn't take much to upset my world. I pride myself on my sense of responsibility, my dedication to the task at hand, my perseverance through all my worldly busyness--dedication and perseverance to the point, perhaps, of forgetting to rest and trust in the Father? Do I strive to do well because it is the godly thing to do, or does it come from a sense of urgency because if I do not provide for myself I may not be provided for at all?

One of my favorite stories is the story of the manna the Lord provided to the Israelites. Lost and weary in the desert, unable to rely on themselves, the people of Israel awoke every morning for nearly forty years and found this supernatural substance on the ground. It sustained them through their wanderings, but they could never store up more than they needed in a day, for if they tried to secure a stockpile of this mysterious what is it?, it would be no good the next morning. The only exception was on the day before the Sabbath, when they were to gather enough to carry them through the Sabbath--they were instructed not to work on the Sabbath, of course.

The verses in Matthew which document the prayer of Jesus which we commonly call The Lord's Prayer refer to this time in the history of God's people. The verse Give us this day our daily bread... may be better translated as Give us our bread day by day... Rely on God to give you your bread, your sustenance, every day. Don't try to store it up for yourself; your effort will be in vain. As much as you strive for comfort and security, you are surely at the mercy of God. And that is nothing to be afraid of, for God offers abundant mercy...

There is a line between being faithful with what you have been given, and striving to do for yourself what only God can do for you. I spend my life dancing along that line, trying so hard to keep myself in equilibrium so that I will not totter to one side or the other. For I never want to be someone who did not try hard enough in this life...

But it's not about me, is it? It's not about how hard I try. The truth is, whether I try a lot or a little, I still ultimately have to rely on the one who gives me my sustenance day by day. So while I do believe that God wants us to be faithful, diligent stewards in this life, I know in my heart that he does not want us to constantly be concerned about toeing that line. Our concern should be trusting him--that is the heart of faith. If I truly come to a place in my life where I can stand and close my eyes and cross my arms over my chest and let myself fall, knowing and believing that his arms are wide enough to catch me wherever I go--if I can get to that point of faith, then I know that everything else in my life will align to the purpose that I strive so hard to attain.

Let me not strive to let go. Instead, let me pray, day by day, for the grace to be a child of reckless abandon.

1 comment:

anmariii said...

Hi. This entry helped me much during one of my down moments. I hope you don't mind that I referred to it in my blog. May the Lord strengthen our hearts to continually trust Him, and may He truly be our Lord of all in reality!