ln the middle of the tension

“Every Christian life stands in the middle of that tension between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ which characterizes the present moment in the divine plan.  It stands between the wonders of the past and the glorious final consummation.  It is linked to the first by faith and to the second by hope.” (Mariano Magrassi)

I think statements like this one bring hope because we often feel like we are living in that “tension” and can wonder what is wrong with us.  So we should not be surprised if we find ourselves in that space, but live fully surrendered in the present moment of God’s divine plan.

“Never, never did He not hear.”

I just had to dig Amy Carmichael out today to look for something of hers to share.  She just has such a wonderful way of saying things and hitting the nail right on the head.

Ps 116.1 I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplications.

As we look back on past years,  they are full of memories of great sorrows and great joys also.  If I were asked to give the sum of the years in a sentence I would write this: I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplications.  Never, never did He not hear.  Never was He far away.

It will be the same with you.  Just now you are in the midst of the pressure of life.  One thing follows another so closely that you have hardly time to think, hardly time to realize how much you are being helped.  But looking back, it will be different.  If there have been sorrows, you will see how marvelous His lovingkindness was.  If there have been joys, it will be the same.  If the time held just one steady round of service it will still be the same.  Every day, every hour will seem to you than as if these words were written across it: I love the Lord because He has heard.

So love Him now, rejoice in Him now, however things are because it is true today–He hears your voice and your supplications.

A good story

Yesterday, I had one of those days that did not go according to “my” plans.  It did make for a good story later, but at the moment I found myself quite frustrated and irritated that I had to drop everything for someone else and that I didn’t get to eat lunch until mid-afternoon.  I had to do something on the computer that I really didn’t know how to do.  I had someone on the phone walking me through it, but the phone cord was too short to reach to the computer so I had to keep dropping the receiver, go work on the computer, and then back to pick up the phone. (I hope you’re laughing at this point–but let me assure you, I wasn’t.) I did have the brilliant idea at one point to switch a cord and handset from another phone–but when I went to hang it up so that I could call the person back later, the handset did not fit the cradle!  Then the online account that was needed to pay for the services I was trying to secure ran out of money.  That would have been easy if the account had been in my name, but it wasn’t.  Something else to figure out.  And so on and so on. (And there was a “so on and so on”, let me tell you.) Like I said, it made for a good story later–but not at the time.  It was humbling to see my weakness and selfishness cry out so strongly at such a simple interruption.

I pray that you respond more quickly to the grace of God than I did yesterday.  Let us pray for each other–that at least we will have the humility to cry out to God in our weakness . . . and hopefully have a  good story to tell when it is all over.  I love this prayer from Amy Carmichael:

A day or two ago one who was with me prayed like this, “Lord, help me to welcome interruptions, especially when the interruption seems less important than the work I am trying to do.”  That prayer has often been mine.  I expect many of you have felt the need of the loving grace of the Lord to help you to welcome interruptions, especially when they do not seem to matter nearly so much as what we are doing at the moment.  Thinking of this, I found myself this early morning in Lk. 9.11.  The people followed our Lord Jesus (He had wanted to be alone with His disciples just then), and He welcomed them.

Human doings

Something to think about:

“We are so used to being busy that we treat it as an essential characteristic of the good life.  Ask people how they are doing and they will often answer by telling you how busy they are.  It has become a mark of success–as if someone who is not busy must certainly be leading an unfulfilling and unsuccessful life.  If we are busy, we feel that life is meaningful.

“Human beings have become human doings.  Simply being feels like not enough–perhaps even personal failure. . . . But our problem is deeper than busyness.  Tragically, we live much of our lives on automatic pilot.  we go through our days as sleep walkers–unaware of God’s presence, inattentive to God’s gifts and invitations, and failing to be present to either ourselves or God. We fail to notice God in the ordinary events of our ordinary days.  God is present–in the world around us, in the people whom we encounter and in our work.  Sadly, it we who are absent.”  (Juliet Benner, Contemplative Vision)