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May
20

The Beginnings of Faith and Trust

Elizabeth Marchman Flower #18
Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith. 
~ I Peter 5:8-9a


It is 2a.m.. Voluminous clouds ride the wind’s breath low across the treetops. Bare branches reach into the midnight sky.  There is a beauty in the surreality of these moments where I exist alone.  Shadows create a world of possibilities from the purview of my bedroom window as my mind wanders through a plethora of demands that weigh me down. A storm is approaching.  Lightening shatters the sky and seconds later the crushing sound of thunder shakes me with its forceful growl. To see the lightening rod salesman from Something Wicked This Way Comes, walking along the sidewalk below would seem quite fitting and not the least bit out of the ordinary.  Instead, drifting clouds lull me into stillness.  The stars shine hypnotically against an infinite blackness, so deep, so vast, I feel miniscule.  Part of a Nahum scripture asserts itself into my conscious: “The Lord has His way in the storm and the clouds are the dust of His feet.”  My mind creates an image of God on a mission of utmost importance. He marches in long strides with angels closely following.  The second troop of clouds march rapidly into view, then disappear over the trees.  Wispy remnants linger as the last of the clouds race by with a swish that swirls my thoughts and I want to reach out, call up to God, “Wait.  You are going too far.  You passed right by me.”  The wind whispers a husky goodbye as I drift into a curious mind’s restless slumber with the words, “What is so important?” on my lips. 
I wrestle with the sleep that comes to me. In the morning when I awaken, I feel forgotten.  Before I even open my eyes, I can feel the anxiety building.  Behind my closed eyes, a scroll unrolls a list of musts.  And I must get moving because I am behind, so woefully behind.  I feel frazzled, overwrought, exhausted.  I sit at the edge of the bed praying.  The disquiet of my mind, creates an anarchy that, like a boa constrictor clinches me, squeezing until I am in tears, gasping for air.  I breathe shallow breathes. My head feels enormous, strangely buoyant as if it is filled with helium.  I scour the room for an exit as the claustrophobia creeps up from my feet tying me to the floor.  I panic sure this time is the end.  This is the day that I really can’t take anymore. The fear confuses and disorientates me, debilitates me.  It turns me into a jumpy, edgy mess. The demons that haunt me and nip at my heels are good at what they do to me – a total derailment.  They isolate me and persecute me day after day as if they have permission to create as much upheaval as possible.  Turmoil churns and boils in our house creating a jungle of adversities and I want to slip away unnoticed for just a little while.
I have often thought about what my faith would be like if I had never experienced the trials that God has laid before me.  I think that my faith would be a shallow puddle of water incapable of surviving the heat of a summer afternoon.  It would just evaporate into the air and disappear. 
It would not make for a very good disciple, I fear. 
For me, the most difficult part of a spiritual battle is to know God is there, but being unable to exist in a state of patience to experience His presence.   I am still trying to control outcomes, trying to convince God that I do not deal with catastrophe well. I want Him to promise me that I will not lose anything more than I already have lost.  I want Him to fix the problems in my life without having a major lesson come out of it.  I know He is conditioning me, equipping and instructing me, qualifying me for the moment when He calls to me and says, “Okay.  It’s time.”
In the past I have struggled to understand why days, weeks, sometimes even months go by where I feel totally in synchronicity with God.  There is a contentment that fits perfectly in my life and peace reigns. Until that one morning, that one morning I wake up feeling unsettled and in an instant, I forget that He reigns.  I forget the One who with His very own hands fashioned me to be who I am, then He placed me on Earth in a perfectly selected place and time to do the work He gives me to do.  To fulfill my purpose here on Earth, it is necessary to under-go faith building.  God does not expect my faith to stay the size of a mustard seed.  Seeds were created to grow into beautiful, hearty plants; some which nourish our body, others which nourish our spirit.  Just as the seed waits for the warmth of the sunlight and the rain from the Heavens so they might grow in their time, so should I wait on God and follow Him wherever He leads me, no matter the trial, no matter how scared or anxious I am, because He is teaching me something so incredibly important.  He is teaching me to trust Him.
Elizabeth Marchman Flower #19

Christian maturity requires sacrifice, but God promises us that He is sufficient.

 Always.
Forever.
Infinitely.
This is all I need to know.

Peace, love and blessings  to you all,
Elizabeth
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