The God of the Bible is ever an elusive one. The only guarantee of divine availability is God’s own promise to be present to those who empty themselves in perfect trust.Belden Lane The Solace of Fierce Landscapes p.63
God, I have been thinking about trusting You, and what trust means, for some months, if not years. ‘Thinking about’ is not the whole of it, though, because I have also been practising giving myself in trust to You in prayer. I am not very trusting, and there is something deeply consoling in making trust my prayer. Whatever is happening in life – however bad, or good, the circumstances seem to be – I discover hope in hearing You repeat, “Trust me.”
I ‘heard’ You say this once and now it is my frequent prayer. Do You remember? There was a day when I was working as a chaplain in a hospital. I went to the chapel to pray and, to be honest, to hide away for a bit. I was tired, worn out, fearful of what the day would bring, feeling hopeless as a chaplain. I said to You,
“I love You.
“I wish we could make this work for You and me…
“so that I am here and engaged, not just enduring.
“How can I keep my heart open: to my colleague, to patients, to the building?
“How can I be true to myself – standing true in my prayer – centred and a man of God – bringing and seeking You?
“I expect You will say, ‘Turn to me. Let me transform you.’
“Here I am. I place myself into your hands.”
And I ‘heard’ You say,
“Trust that I am here. Trust Me.”
With these words I felt a pressure, a warmth, Your presence on my back, between my shoulder blades. No doubt that this was You. But let me not build it up. There were no flashing lights or sound effects. I was not ‘transported’. It was straightforward and ordinary – and the heart of the matter.
Here’s what I learnt from this exchange:
- It is important to tell it as it is to God. It is no good saying, ‘God already knows.’ That’s avoidance! We need to tell God in honest, heartfelt, vulnerable words.
- When God speaks (and, no, I don’t literally hear words in my ears) I also feel it in this body. It is a whole-person experience.
The moment I turn to Him it is like turning on an electric current which I feel through my whole being.
- I can remember that moment, that feeling in my back, whenever I want. It is necessary to remember, over and over, because I need to realise that what is true in one moment is true in all moments.
If I’m honest, the day that followed wasn’t any better. I still struggled. But I knew some thing radical had occurred.
I didn’t understand what You meant. I still don’t understand. But what I do see is that I have not even begun to trust You. To trust You means, in every moment, to let You go before me.
You are teaching me about trust.
[Watch out for the conclusion on Thursday]