It’s been foggy and rainy here for the past few days. But today, the sun broke through. I run around the house opening blinds, pulling back curtains. My son joins me in this act of celebration.
“Hooray, it’s a beautiful sunny day!” He exclaims as he spoons oatmeal into his mouth.
When I was in grade 8 I missed a week of school because I was sick. When I returned to Math class after my week at home I was shocked. X’s and y’s were scattered across the pages of my assignments, lines pointed in various directions on Cartesian planes, and I was asked to find “b” and calculate the value of “m”. The class had begun learning about linear equations and I had been absent for the core lessons. My peers who used to come to me for help were now flying past me. As hard as I tried I just could not make sense of this new language. I wanted to run away. Give up on Math altogether. Call it a pointless subject and myself useless in it. But I didn’t, and I eventually found my way to the other side. In fact, I began to love algebra. I chose Math as my major in University and even earned scholarships and awards based on my success. I couldn’t get enough.
I’m glad I persisted through the unknown, and came face to face with the ugliness of my fear. I’m glad I fell into the well of confusion. And was humbled by it.
Because, like this time so many years ago, I find myself once again feeling rather lost. And I can see how my desire to be right, my fear of being wrong, can hold me back. Prevent me from seeing new possibilities and embarking on paths of new learning.
Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. (1 Corinthians 3:18)
When I let go of fear, pride, insecurity, I am free. Free to be brave, to explore, free to learn. I don’t need to be right anymore. If I am wrong? So what. At least I can be at peace knowing I pursued the desires of my heart, and did so in love.
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back, no turning back.
Though I may wander, I still will follow.
No turning back, no turning back.
The song plays quietly from a small portable CD player in the church nursery. A little girl, just learning to stand, holds onto the toy shelf and wiggles her body to the music, her blonde hair bouncing, a smile dancing across her sweet face.
I have decided.
And I think, I suppose it’s as easy as that. And as difficult. Do I say yes to following Jesus, or do I say no? It is not a matter of evidence or proof, certainty or knowledge. At one point or another faith will leave me confused and lost. At that point I must make a decision. Do I continue onward, and see what is in store for me beyond this place? Or do I turn back to safety and assurance?
I know God is not worried. My wandering does not frighten him. He is not lost and in need of being found. He has never stopped calling to me.
There is a beautiful old door in the entryway of our house. The window is made of textured glass. When you look through it, your vision is obscured. I can see light pouring through, but exactly what lies beyond the window? That is not entirely clear.
“My thoughts are not like your thoughts. And your ways are not like my ways,” announces the Lord. “The heavens are higher than the earth. And my ways are higher than your ways. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
When it comes to faith, to knowing God, I am an infant. Entering a world wider and more complex than the one in which I have been living. When a baby is born, she cannot focus farther than 8 to 12 inches away – just far enough to make out the face of the person holding her. She can detect light, shapes, and movement beyond that, but it’s all pretty blurry right now. And what does a new babe do to survive? She trusts. She does not rely on her own understanding – her mind is not ready to process all of the information she is now receiving – but rather holds fast to the One who is stronger than herself. Someone with a love so long, so wide, so deep, and so high that nothing shall she fear.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
My soul yearns for communion with God. For that reason, I keep running. I keep trusting. I let the truths of the Bible carry me forward. At every moment, with every single step I take, there is both doubt and belief, fear and bravery, a pull towards reason and a pull towards intuition. I don’t know if this tension will ever go away. But I no longer see these things at odds with one another, anymore than light is at odds with darkness. Both have their place. The existence of one only serves to intensify the existence of the other. The tension powers me with strength, lifts we with momentum.
When the sun bursts through, we celebrate. Not because we do not want the dark rain clouds – we need them. The rain encourages rest, nourishes growth, restores. But the sun is a beautiful promise of all that is good. When we feel it shine on our face, we know that there is always Hope. And the One who promises this to us is full of Love. The darkness does not go unnoticed to Him. He still shines behind the clouds of fear, of doubt, of loneliness. His Light is always beckoning. And one day He will reveal himself to us, making all things right. Until then, we trust in Him with all our hearts.
Here I raise my Ebenezer; my stone of help; my declaration that He is in control.
Take my heart Lord. Take and seal it.
Let your goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to you.
Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. (Isaiah 55:3)