One of the hardest parts about moving forward in life is attempting to do so on a treadmill called uncertainty. I started to say doubt, but that does not accurately portray what I mean. Uncertainty is more fitting and more fluid, like a treadmill, but without the certainty of direction, pace, or stability.
I took a small but significant step today. I cannot say what it was as it would not be appropriate. However, it was important in breaking the counterweights which have latched themselves into my heart the past few months. My prayer is that this will allow me to face a future which seems unclear.
Such steps entail risk. I knew that when I started this season of my story. Indeed, resigning my previous church was a risk in itself, a profound one which continues to take its toll on my heart, but also one in which I have peace in knowing I did the right thing.
Work fills my week days, but it is accompanied by whispers of dreams and possibilities. In the midst of local and world chaos, I look for beauty. I find it in Jesus Christ and in his creation, particularly in human relationships. But I see splinters of evil, as well, the stain of sin due to selfishness passed from generation to generation.
I am affected by this stain. Yet, I am redeemed in Christ. I fall short because of my sinfulness. However, in Christ, I am made whole because of God’s grace. And I marvel at what God has done over all these years, and wonder at what he is about to do.
Self-preservation takes many forms, not least physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, and the need to provide for oneself in these respects. When Adam and Eve rejected God in the garden of Eden because of the Serpent’s deception, they told God they wanted to be like him, one aspect of which is self-sufficient. He allowed them and us that opportunity. And look at where it has gotten us?
Rather than relying wholly on him, we strive day-to-day to make money to provide for food, housing, and the like. Our self-sufficiency has alienated us from the one who provided us everything, and who will redeem us to himself. In North America we have fared better than in most other parts of the world. However, don’t kid yourself into thinking our ingenuity and protestant work ethic is the final word on the matter. But for the grace of God, all we have achieved could be washed away by powers beyond our human comprehension.
So, as I consider my story moving forward, I ask God to help me be more reliant on him. Hard words for someone like me who has learned to be self-reliant in most respects. One wonders if it will lead to acts of faith. Of daring. Of humbling. Of brokenness.
I don’t want to become a self-absorbed loner with no need for God or others, even though that seems to be what the culture expects of me, particularly the church as it pertains to my need (as a single adult male) for others.
What does this imply? I must continue the forward walk, attentive to the relationships God deposits in my life, and prayerfully hopeful to nurture those relationships I previously have enjoyed. Relationships are the greatest risk of them all. Ask me to handle 55 gallon drums of explosive flammables as I have done in the past. No problem. But relationships? That is another thing altogether because they dare venture into the provenance of the heart, a domain I guard closely, and not without good reason.
Someone recently asked how they can pray for me. My response? Wisdom. Specifically, God’s wisdom.