Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trust in His love...

I came across something in Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning, after Tricia and I talked on Tuesday. It seemed to pick up right where we left off on one of the images I had. It gave me more insight into my struggle.

“The grace to let go and let God be God flows from trust in His boundless love. Yet, many of us find it exceedingly difficult to trust. Only love empowers the leap in trust, the courage to risk everything on Jesus, the readiness to move into the darkness guided only by a pillar of fire. Trust clings to the belief that whatever happens in our lives is designed to teach us holiness.” (selections from pg. 117, boldface mine)

That reminds me of my session with Tricia talking about following that pillar of fire. It was almost my exact words… I truly didn’t read them until after the session. It was a God thing.
But that is it. Trust.

To take that leap in trust that He will catch me, to trust that His love is enough to catch me and cover me. To trust enough to quit asking for tangible, touchable proof of His love. To let go of my craving for physical expressions of love, from God and others, that is real trust.

And what better way to show His love for me (us), than to take all my (our) sins, all the separations, loss, broken heartedness, rejections, abandonment, betrayals, and every wound of my spirit (and yours) on His own shoulders, carry them to Calvary, and shed His blood to cover and heal them all? How could I possibly, in the light of that, ask for more proof of His love? What more could He give, after giving His very life?

How many times have I resisted the love of God? How many times have I resisted accepting the love of God because I didn’t deserve it? Of course I didn’t, and don’t. That is what grace is all about! I may not be who I want to be, or have done what I wanted or intended. I may be weighed down by false guilt. I may have failed, I may not be happy but I am accepted and held in Christ’s nail scarred hands.

To accept that gift of grace, to respond to that outpouring of His love, requires and maybe demands that trust.

When I am able to move beyond the head knowledge of Jesus’ love for me, to the heart knowledge of His love for me… then my trust grows. Then I know and believe with all my heart, soul, mind and strength that He loves me and HIS LOVE FOR ME WILL NEVER CHANGE!!! Then it is easy to trust, and to love Him back with everything that I am. Then I don’t reject His forgiveness, and I can forgive myself.

This connects back to my last post as well. When I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death, if I fully trust God, I can thank Him for anything I am experiencing. I can surrender myself completely to His hands, knowing I am held in His arms, on His lap, and that He is keeping me safe. It doesn’t feel safe. It hurts, it is painful, but through it all God is teaching me something. God is using me somehow. God is preparing me for something in the future, that is more than I could ever ask or imagine.

“The love of Christ inspires trust to thank God for the nagging headache, the arthritis that is so painful, the spiritual darkness that envelops us; to say with Job, ‘If we take happiness from God’s hand, should we not take sorrow too?’ Job 2:10″ Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning, pg. 118

So today I choose to thank God for this “curse” as my mom viewed it, of depression, oppression, attack, anxiety, hurt, pain… because someday I will be able to say with David, in Psalm 30;

“You have turned my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory my sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” (vs. 11-12)

NOTE: Much of these thoughts, if you couldn’t tell by all the quotes, have come from reading Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning; particularly Chapter 6, pgs. 104-121. Get this book and read it! It is incredible. It has helped me to look at the gospel of grace in a different way than ever before. It has helped me apply scripture and truth to my life in ways I hadn’t before. God has used this book to show me the next step to take in correcting wrong thoughts and attitudes. Through study of scripture and this book as a companion, God is turning my heart evermore to Himself. Encouraging me to trust, to give myself grace, and accept His love.

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