How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his Heaven
These lyrics came to mind this morning as I was reflecting and praying. Lest I sound overly spiritual, I must say that I don't make time for these activities nearly as often as I should. Zeke woke me up at 4 a.m., so he gets the credit today.
Yesterday during the Pentecost service at church, the Holy Spirit blessed me with the wondrous gift of His presence and comfort. I am ashamed of myself when I think how often I doubt His loving care and His willingness to reassure me, and how easily worried and distracted I am. Like St. Teresa's image of the soul in her book Interior Castle, I seem to spend way too much time in the outer courtyard getting stung and bitten by the creatures of this world, rather than in the holy Presence of God in the innermost rooms. (Unlike Teresa, however, I cannot shun the world to seek His Presence. Becoming a Carmelite nun seems quite tempting at times. However, I fear it is too late.)
My point is that the Holy Spirit makes himself known in a silence that is overwhelming in its profundity. The still, small voice is voiceless - and yet perfectly clear. Jesus said "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me." John 10:27. It takes a while to cultivate this type of hearing, and I admit to being confused and misled many times in my younger days, but now there is nothing sweeter or clearer than the voice of my Lord speaking to me, as he must have spoken to Mary in the garden.
What He said was "Don't worry! I will tell you when it's time to go back to work. I know that you are obedient. Don't worry. I hold you in my hand, and won't let you fall." He said this not once but over and over for several minutes, knowing that I need confirmation and absolute reassurance that it is truly His Spirit and not mine speaking.
Kind of like the Star Wars clone troopers sending a repeating "All Clear" signal to the Republic fleet in the story Jeff and I are currently reading. See? And you thought Star Wars was unspiritual.
I have been told many times by concerned, loving Christians, "You shouldn't worry about money! God has promised to provide, so you are displaying a lack of faith." But they are missing the point. I do not doubt that my family and I will always have food to eat and a roof over our heads; if the absolute worst happened and we became penniless, my parents still own the large house I grew up in and have a garden where we could grow food.
The point is that, as a Christian, I am responsible for how I use the time, resources and talent God has given me. It is not a question of having money, but of how to use the money we have in the wisest manner. Was it wise to get a dog now? I believe with all my heart that it was. Is it wise for me to commit to a full-time job at this time? Apparently not yet. Is it wise to focus on finishing the book instead? Perhaps I should.
I think one of the reasons I've been feeling so discouraged is that I allowed myself to hope that just maybe I could have the life I really want, being a mom and a teacher and a writer. That perhaps this was God's will for me and I could relax, finally, and just do it. I thought that was the case, and then all this happened and ruined it for me. But I also know that God disciplines those he loves and that I needed some discipline.
So, it's 5:38 and I am going to try to work on my book a little before it's time to get Jeff up for school.
Zeke, of course, has gone back to sleep.