I know He can, but after Tommy, when circumstances begin to look shaky, I struggle to know that He will…I don’t know…not leave us hanging? That’s stating it as honestly as I know how. Far from emerging as some warrior of faith, like Joe has done, I more easily become afraid of possible disaster, and am more unsure of the difference between faith and just plain ol’ dumb.
There is a far, far kingdom on the other side of the glass, and by a faint light we see.
~The Gray Havens
Whatever happens, I long for Him to be lifted up, but how He chooses to glorify Himself in us can be painful and scary to contemplate. His plan is often so very far from my preferences and ideals. This faith thing gets harder, not easier, as we go further up and further in. Our due diligence only takes us so far on this journey, and then we find we are still wholly dependent on His providence.
Knowing with everything in me that He is good and He loves me doesn’t keep me from trembling, because I have known the agony of His good and loving pruning shears ripping through my life.
If I only rest calmly in Him when He is causing all the pieces to fall readily into place, is that really trust? At those times, am I not resting in circumstances more than resting in Him?
And yet…and yet…there is a strange joy amidst the faint and flimsy faith that was left flickering unsteadily in my heart.
Because in His pruning away, He lopped off some Susanna that I used to think was faith. The full-orbed theological upbringing, the personality strengths, the sociological causes, everything that made me question last winter whether I was really a child of God or simply a logical result of all these influences.
The faith that is left, small and shaky though it may be, is real, the true gift of grace and not of Susanna.
In this I rejoice.
…I also count all things loss…that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith…
Then Hwin, though shaking, gave a strange little neigh and trotted across to the Lion.
“Please,” she said, “you’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”
“Dearest daughter,” said Aslan, planting a lion’s kiss on her twitching, velvet nose, “I knew you would not be long in coming to me. Joy shall be yours.”
~The Horse and His Boy, by C. S. Lewis