Our Longing

There are times when my faith is tried, when I move from that great welled feeling of comfort and mystery and theory into a guttural reality, risking the name hypocrite. In those times, I am called to rely on God as never before, to go to Him in prayer, to listen, to move forward with only Him in my thoughts, to test the mirror called truth and discover if all the wisdom for which I had prayed in more peaceful times is present. These are the times the outcome I wish to manipulate evades my reach. This is God’s time to waken me from sleepwalking easiness into a tangible Holy reliance.

These are the times I think about Onan, and Nabal, and Jezebel and God’s response. I think about Jesus throwing the moneychangers from the temple, turning the tables in anger. Revenge, an eye for an eye, living by the sword seems the all too easy response when I am tested. It was not for these times that I should acquiesce my belief or cower to human fight or flight but to live into my calling, into my profession of faith, my conversion, my baptism. For me, the watchword in trouble is remember. And what must I remember?

The Apostle Paul’s encouragement comes to mind when in Philippians 3:14 he writes, “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.”

Some might say the Christian faith is one of mildness and meekness, a wallflower life. Faith is not inaction but action of a different kind. There is a great tendency to respond to the will within us, the low hanging fruit of reaction, the intent to handle trouble on our own, to fail to listen to the calling Love demands in reality. God commands more.

 And in this spirit, my Moravian friends offer a guidepost for me when they write these passages, “Jesus, my All, to heaven is gone, He whom I fix my hopes upon; His track I see, and I’ll pursue the narrow way, till Him I view — Still may we hear that healing voice. Speak to my inmost heart; the one thing needful be my choice, be mine the better part; then of my works of faith and love, be this memorial writ above, while others boast their fancied good, he hath done what he could” (The Moravian Texts, 1952). Let these be my watchwords.

And my prayer in those tough times is thus — “Lord, be gracious unto me. I have waited for Thee. Be thou my arm every morning, my salvation in time of trouble” (Isaiah 33:2, NKJV).

Our longing for the good old days and for better times in the midst of our most difficult times must mean to turn that longing toward God, to His more, to His action of a different kind. Faith is a hard learning.

An excerpt from the poem, The Seafarer, says it well.

Consider where we should possess our home,

And think on how we may come to that place—

And strive to attain it.

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