Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


I don't need to know

Imagine for a moment, standing with Adam and Eve in the garden. 

They have peace, satisfying and enjoyable work to do, beautiful surroundings, perfect relationship with each other and an unbroken sense of togetherness with God. 

Satan, in the form of a snake, slithers himself over to Eve and 'suggests' that God is holding out on her. God, Satan hints, knows more than Eve and 'it's not fair, is it?'. Then he offers a solution to this injustice in the form of eating an apple from the tree that grants knowledge, information, understanding and ultimately a sense of control. Eve is considering. 

Imagine standing between Eve and the snake and looking her in the eye. You might say, "Eve, don't do this . . . consider the consequences . . . you have all you need with God, you don't need this, you don't! Walk away!"

I'm guessing Eve might look you back in the eye and ask you some questions. She might say, "What is your future going to be like? Your relationships? Your kids? Your job? Your health? Don't you want to know?" Suddenly, there is a sinking feeling in your own stomach that you too feel anxious about things you don't know. Perhaps it's not so easy to walk away.

Our kids are in Australia for a few weeks, for a wedding, staying with family, but far away from home. Communication is easy through text messages and emails but they are still on the other side of the world and a time zone away. If there was a crisis, it would take us 22 hours to get there. When we said goodbye at the airport, we also said goodbye to any sense of control over circumstances that may happen good or bad. This tangible experience of choosing to trust God in the unknowing opened my eyes to something.

If Eve had chosen to push the fruit back into Satan's face and said, "No - I don't need to know. I choose to trust God in the unknowing." She would've gone back to what she was doing and enjoyed the sense of peace and freedom in God's care.

But I'm tempted to respond differently. I may choose to trust God, but then I check my inventory, my emotional strength, my mental capacity, my physical strength and I assess whether or not I will be able to handle what may come. If I feel inadequate or my inventory comes up lacking . . . then there is a sense of anxiety. I may then try to gain a sense of control somewhere else in my life, my appearance, my productivity, my usefulness, the calendar . . . 

Trusting God means, trusting God. Not ramping up trust in myself. 

Trusting God means that I admit, I AM lacking, I don't know or understand and probably don't have the capacity to handle things. But God does. He says, "I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

It is not my job to gather resources and arm myself with strength in order to handle the future. It is learning to trust God, my Father, who loves me, loves those I care about and knows what the future will be. 

A Thomas Merton Prayer

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."