Only the humble – those who know and are honest about who they are and who they are not – can be trusted in the presence of great power. The temptation to usurp it for self-aggrandisement is too great otherwise.
This quote came to my attention again today: “It is easier to be an excessive fanatic than it is to be consistently faithful, because God causes an amazing humbling of our religious conceit when we are faithful to Him.”
– Oswald Chambers
Of all the millions of women alive at that time, why did God choose Mary from Nazareth to carry and deliver the most important Word ever given to people – the Word Himself?
The angelic messenger greeted a person on the cusp of adult life with the acknowledgment that God saw her as a woman who was full of grace. In spite of the fact that being pregnant outside of marriage was a demotion reputation-wise and would probably set her up for the heart-breaking loneliness of being misunderstood, she recognized purposes of her Lord. She trusted him.
The most profound expression of faith ever spoken may be found in her response to an angelic encounter:
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
There is not a drop of religious conceit in her powerful yes.
Hope is willing to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown. Hope makes you see God’s guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointment and darkness.
“Your case is complex,” one of them told me this week. “I would definitely not follow the advice the other specialist gave you if it were me. But it’s up to you.”
If people who have spent years studying medicine disagree on how to proceed, how on earth am I supposed to decide which expert to “unfollow?”
I cried out to God on my long drive home from the cancer clinic yesterday. I feel overwhelmed, like I have been falling through cracks named “rare” and “exceptional” for too many years. From the time I was born my body chemistry never completely fit the charts that define “norms.” Too much of this, too little of that, and in spite of a life time of funding the diet and exercise industry, I walk around in a model that is, embarrassingly, entirely the wrong size and shape to buy clothes off the rack in fashionable shops for “normal” people.
I saw an oncology dietician today. “Complex,” she said. “Your case is complex.”
When I told a friend in the medical field about my treatment options she said, “It’s certainly complex.”
“I’ve heard that word a lot this week,” I said with a sigh.
Complex. Why is this so complex, Lord? Why is my body so weird? Making a wrong decision on treatment plans could have dire consequences down the road. I know you didn’t make the cancer cells. There’s no aberrant cell division in heaven, so it’s not your plan to have these invaders in me. I know you have a better plan, but I have no idea what to do now. I’m scared.
I’ve been meditating on Psalm 139 in The Passion Translation for some weeks. This is where I am now:
You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.
Then I read this. Verse 14: I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
I read it again. And again. And another time. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex.
That’s in there? Complex? Seriously?
Be thankful? How can I do that? How can I be thankful for a complex body that mystifies the experts? How can I be thankful when I feel so angry? (Am I allowed to admit that emotions like anxiety and anger sometimes crawl out of the ditch to dog your steps on the faith walk in real time?) Show me how to be thankful, Lord, because I’m not feeling it.
I stopped to take photos on my way home, because that’s one way I worship. Worship shifts my point of view and gets the focus off myself. I choose to focus my camera on trees and mountains and fields instead. I take time to appreciate God’s handiwork because he said was pleased with it himself and worship is about appreciating God and paying attention to the things he appreciates.
The scenery along Highway 22, the Cowboy Trail in Alberta, fascinates me. The road runs through a sparsely populated part of the country where the landscape transitions from prairie to mountains.
High winds provoke ever-changing cloudscapes and patterns of light and shadow on the rolling hills.
Winter blizzards often alternate with warm chinook winds here. The season can change within hours. It’s white. It’s brown. It’s barren. It’s lush. It’s hot. It’s cold. It’s smooth. It’s rugged.
David wrote in Psalm 139:
Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
As I edit photos today I hear His voice. If you can appreciate My handiwork in this vast countryside, can you appreciate the way I created your body? I know every cell. Can you trust me to show you what to do to heal it?
The wind picked up as I drove down Highway 22 yesterday. I mean really picked up. My car rocked from side to side from the buffeting force of the gale. I had to grip the steering wheel tightly, and aim it at about one o’clock, or maybe 1:30, to keep going straight toward the mountains that mark the beginning of the narrow opening in the Rocky Mountains called the Crowsnest Pass.
A song I had downloaded on my iPod began to play.
Fear not If I could say it any louder, I would
Remember all I told you, remember all I said When the questions start arising, keep your eyes fixed straight ahead Hold on tightly to the promise, hold firmly to the truth That I love you, oh I love you.
He’s got his diagnostic finger on that trust issue again. So, in the middle of the buffeting of circumstances I choose to hold on tightly to his promises and trust him and keep my eyes fixed straight ahead. He made me and he loves me. That’s good enough reason to say thank you.
I played the song on repeat as I kept my eyes on the morphing, moving clouds on the horizon.
When life piles up and you’re feeling overcome Stand still and believe, I won’t let you drown When a cry’s in your throat, watching all the waves below Lift your eyes to the sky and trust that I won’t pass you by
Fear not If I could say it any louder, I would
Fear not! If I could say it any louder, I would!
Thank you, Lord, for making me mysteriously complex. Your love conquers fear.