Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the blogs and been moved by their honesty. After Sunday’s wonderful service, I went for a walk on Griffith Ave.
As I walked, I noticed the bare trees and thought how graciously they stand in their vulnerability – all their lovely foliage gone. Oh, to have to have the grace and humility to stand firm in the truth of my nature!
This brought me to our current situation. I wondered how open, trusting, and humble are we in allowing what we value to be taken from us with the dignity of these trees? As I pan for gold these days, I hear the invitation to take hold of the promise in Jeremiah 17:7-8 and therein lies the golden nugget:
“A blessing on the (people) who put (their) trust in Yahweh,
with Yahweh for (their) hope. (They) are like a tree by the waterside
that thrusts its roots to the stream; when the heat comes it feels no alarm,
its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought,
and never ceases to bear fruit.”
I also hear the invitation to listen to the wisdom which shows us that we are called to willingly surrender to what is and to relinquish our assumption of wilful mastery over external circumstances that are beyond our control. We are invited to trust deeply the will of God at work in our lives until its revelation is shown to us when the season changes. The invitation is always to humbly accept reality as it is and in doing so, we are set free. 1 Peter 4:2-3: “because for the rest of (my) life… (I am) not ruled by human passions but only the will of God”.
This pandemic has exposed our illusion that there was certainty in life – in reality, there are seasons of certainty with plenty of seasons of uncertainty. As a Christian, I know that my life in Christ is secure but in truth, I actually don’t always “know” that I know, especially having experienced several “dark nights of the soul”. Yet I received great comfort from the words of the Psalmist: “Thy word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119:105). I have had to relearn that: “If you live in the shelter of Elyon and make your home in the shadow of Shaddai, you can say to Yahweh ‘my refuge, my fortress, my God in whom I trust” (Ps 91:1).
We are invited to remember to “take up your cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24-26) until we surrender utterly and find the Lord’s security in the depths of our hearts. As it says in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” You see, our vulnerability is our most valuable nugget.
I’d like to close with a gentle reminder: “He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame…” Isaiah 42:3. While our society is figuring out its response to this pandemic, God’s word reveals that He holds sacred, “the one who struggles and pains, the one who is broken and vulnerable” . This means that God is holding you sacredly, tenderly, reverently, and lovingly.
I hope these words will help you pan for the gold in your circumstances and remind you that you are being held sacredly, tenderly, and lovingly. And now – “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).
 Monica Browne and Emmaus Productions 2005