Coming to My Senses
In the last few weeks I’ve become consumed with a great many worries. Some of these worries we carry together…unrelenting war, the deepening of poverty in our country and world, a mortgage and credit crisis that is pinching many families, the costs of food and energy, a spiritual malaise that deprives us of the life and dignity that God intends for us all. I also carry the concern for how best to answer God’s claim on my life as I work to lead this community of faith forward in discerning God’s preferred future for our congregation. On top of all of this, Sally and I are preparing to send a daughter to college in an uncertain world where the costs of such an education continue to rise. I have been consumed. In the last couple of days, I’ve come to my senses and realized that I’ve been wandering in the wilderness in this worry.
It is so easy to get here. We start out with giving these worries, needs and concerns to God. We know that giving these things to God is something that God welcomes. We know that worrying about such things very often gets in our way with a deepening relationship with God. Pretty soon after we stop giving these worries, needs and concerns to God our focus turns inward and we lose sight of God. It’s very much like a trip to the store with young children. We make sure that the child knows that it is important that he/she pay attention to us and not get separated. How many times does the child get distracted by something of interest, look away and then realize that they’ve lost sight of you. How easy it is for us to get distracted by the many things that weigh on us and then lose sight of God’s movement in our life.
That moment of coming to our senses can be a difficult moment. It can be a moment of panic. It can be a moment of confusion. It can be a moment of paralysis as we don’t know where next to go or how to find our way back to God and back to the path. “Now what?” I think we can take a lesson from the National Park Service. When lost in the wilderness, the rangers will remind people to not go wandering. Searchers have a better chance of finding you if you stay put. Spiritually speaking this is what the Psalmist proclaims in the 40th Psalm when he writes: “I waited patiently for the Lord, in time God hear my cry. He lifted my feet upon the rock out of the miry bog.” When I came to my senses and realized where I was, I simply waited for and looked for God in the silence of my wilderness. As I began to relinquish the death grip on the things that worried and distracted me, I felt the refreshing and life giving movement of the Holy Spirit. God came to me to renew me, take me by the hand and raise my feet upon the rock.
In a world where there is a lot to worry about…In a world that is looking less and less like we’re used to seeing it, it is easy to be consumed by our own needs, worries and fears. Even when we grow in our discipleship, trust and relationship with God we will never completely outgrow our distractability. The grace and the good news is that even when we are so distracted, God is never absent from us. God will and does continue to sustain us even though we may not realize it at the time. When we come to our senses and engage the trust to wait for the Lord, to look for the Lord who is present, God will indeed always raise our feet upon the rock.
Our life, our world and our future is in God’s hands. This doesn’t mean there won’t be trials. This doesn’t mean that we won’t face adversity. The path to the life that God has in mind for us means that we continue to walk through an uncertain world. Because of what God has shown us in the cross and resurrection of Christ we can walk through this uncertain world in faith and trust. When we pledge our self to this path, God, by His grace, will always encourage and strengthen us to walk this path.