trust

Steps of Faith in a Storm – Poem

Steps of Faith in a Storm – Poem

I wrote the poem “Steps of Faith in a Storm” in a very difficult time, when people whom I trusted harassed and hurt me deeply. It’s my first attempt of translating a German poem into English.

Steps of Faith in a Storm

Spilling breaking waves waves waves waves waves
storm storm storm
fooooog

The boat sways on high sea
I stand uncertainly on my legs
powerless against the powers
powerless

I stare at the shape in the fog
and a gentle voice in me calls:
Come! Trust me!
Come!

I inhale deeply
I want to dare the leap
and let go of the edge of the boat
I step on the water…

I forgive my enemies
pray for those, who persecute me
and don’t take revenge

I step on the water
and the water carries me
the water carries me
hopefully for a long time!?!

And if not
I will try it tomorrow again.

*

Spilling breaking waves waves waves waves waves
storm storm storm
fooooog

The boat sways on high sea
I stand uncertainly on my legs
powerless against the powers
powerless

I stare at the shape in the fog
and a gentle voice in me calls:
Come! Trust me!
Come!

I inhale deeply
I want to dare the leap
and let go of the edge of the boat
I step on the water…

I forgive my brothers and sisters who wrong me
I pray for those, who hurt me
and I don’t lash out at them

I step on the water
and the water carries me
the water carries me
for a loooooong time!

*

Glaubensschritt * Steps of Faith
Glaubensschritt * Steps of Faith

I had painted the picture that meshes with the poem “Steps of Faith in the Storm” more than one year before that. Originally, for me it referred to the steps of faith that I take by trusting God and following his guidance.

I wrote the poem, when I discovered a new dimension of steps of faith – when I am unfairly treated and harassed, to not insist on my right, defend myself or strike back, but let go and trust that God is above it all and can turn things around for good.

That is what happened in the specific situation, during which I suffered a lot and felt helpless at the mercy of some higher powers. In the end, God turned the situation around and changed it into blessings.

Dare to Trust – Cold Wax Painting

Come, dare to trust!

When Peter saw Jesus walking on water, he believed that he could do that too, at least if Jesus gave him the assignment. And that’s how it was. Jesus said, “Come!” and for a short while Peter was able to walk on water. Like Jesus. But when he started looking on the high waves (circumstance), he started to sink.

Step by Faith * Glaubensschritt
Step by Faith * Glaubensschritt

I have never walked on real water, but figuratively I have done it very often. In my being “En Route” with Jesus it happened countless times, that Jesus gave me a commission that seemed impossible. In these situations I have experienced time and again, that when I trusted Jesus, the impossible became possible. My task was only to follow the instructions, and let him take care of the results.

Faith for me means every day anew “walking on water”, doing things in dependence on Jesus, that seem impossible to me.

 

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; let it be my only worry to trust and obey you. Ps 86:11

Standing under the Cross

Standing Under the Cross

Standing erect, holding our heads high, is the attitude of spiritually mature people in face of the calamities of our world. The facts of everyday life are a rich source for doomsday thinking and feeling. But it is possible for us to resist this temptation and to stand with self-confidence in this world, never losing our spiritual ground, always aware that “sky and earth will pass away” but the words of Jesus will never pass away (see Luke 21:33).

Let us be like Mary, the mother of Jesus, who stood under the cross, trusting in God’s faithfulness notwithstanding the death of his beloved Child.

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen in Bread for the Journey

received through “Daily Meditation” from HenriNouwen.org

An enabler asks for help

An Enabler Asks for Help

Someone I love is buried
beneath fear and paralysis.
She has forgotten how gloriously You made her.
And I seem to have forgotten that Your love for her
far exceeds my limited version.

Forgive me for the many years I’ve rushed in to do Your job. (As if!)
My trust in You has been wavering and impatient.
But how do I watch a train-wreck like this?
How do I resist the crazy urge to stand in front of the train
that threatens the life of my loved one?

Watching her suffer has moved me to act.
But has it moved me to sit and seek Your solution?

Not until now. Finally. The uncertainty scares me, though.
Putting ‘my rescue-plan’ on hold makes me feel uncaring
and negligent. But I am actually trying to practice radical trust
in You. Please help me be strong enough to be with her
without feeling responsible for her life.

This grip is horrible to hold, and so hard to release.

May my faith in You be sufficient
to stop this train, and get these filthy whites clean.

– Erika Harris

Meditating and prayer – Laundry + Prayer: I Don’t See the Difference – Prayables

Good or evil?

Good or evil?

The following quotes are part of the conversation in “The Shack“ (pp 134-136) that I intentionally left out in my last post. God explains there to Mac why our parameters for deciding what is good and what is evil are often wrong.

“Evil is the word we use to describe the absence of Good, just as we use the word darkness to describe the absence of Light or death to describe the absence of Life. Both evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence. I am Light and I am Good. I am Love and there is no darkness in me. Light and Good actually exist. So, removing yourself from me will plunge you into darkness. Declaring independence will result in evil because apart from me, you can only draw upon yourself. This is death because you have separated yourself from me: Life.”

I have contemplated this a lot and found it really helpful. As long as we discern good and evil based on our subjective feelings and perception, we will often get it wrong and miss how “bad” things can be “good” for us. And this in turn will undermine our trust in God. Only when we understand that God’s presence makes something good and his absence makes something evil, can we understand that “in one instance, the good may be the presence of cancer or the loss of income – or even a life.”

It is often the hard things that drive us into God’s presence, mold our character and transform us into his image. Unfortunately, difficult times seem to be the only way we learn and experience transformation.

This also sheds a different light on our pursuit of independence. Being independent from God removes us from the Vine. We are called to remain in Him, abide in Him, because apart from Him we can do nothing. (John 15:5) A well known passage, but how often do we manage to put it into practice? 🙂

What does it mean to practice it? Here is what Mac heard God say to him about this:

“You must give up your right to decide what is good and evil in your own terms. This is a hard pill to swallow; choosing to only live in me. To do that you know me enough to trust me and learn to rest in my inherent goodness.”

So this brings us back to the issue of trust. If we decide on our own what is good and bad, we easily come to the conclusion God is not trustworthy. Or as Wayne Jacobsen puts it – we practice a “Daisy Pedal Christianity” (He loves me!) going back and forth between “God loves me” and “God loves me not” depending on whether things happening in our life are “good” or “bad” according to our subjective perception. Whenever we don’t like what is happening to us, we conclude that God does not love us, instead of looking for the good God intended with it.

I know, it is not easy to apply this in some extreme situations, but why not start with every day situations and try to see them through God’s eyes? I have been mulling over this topic for some time. It was a pleasant surprise recently, when I experienced a very disappointing situation and in the middle of it was able to hold back on my subjective judgment, but trust that God has good plans for his children. (More about it in a future post)

Waiting

Since waiting on the Lord is my present “job description” I found the following quote helpful and encouraging:

“While waiting upon God we should continue to gather good data, seek godly counsel, and even begin to take action. God often guides throughout the process as we seek His leadership. As we give God His rightful place in all things He has promised to share His private counsel with us. The Hebrew word sod found in Psalm 25:14 and Proverbs 3:32 can be translated “secret intimate counsel,” and it is for those who fear and seek the Lord.”

from The Stress Factor: Internal Stress and Making Decisions, by Lee Hotchkiss, in Encouragement, the online magazine, http://www.barnabas.org/magazine.php?release=2007-05&ar_id=9

Death vs. Life

“In God’s economy, where ever there is death, there will be life.”

A friend had heard this statement at a conference. As we talked about it, I realized how much this applies to me and the past months.

Yes, there were several major losses in my life recently (death) and I have to grieve them. Maybe the most difficult one was lost time and I am still trying to figure out how to grieve about it. The quote encourages me to be expectant of what good God will bring out of it (new life). I can already see some good things that have come out of the changed schedule I had as a result (being stuck in the capital during the car repairs): new relationships that have the potential for deeper friendships; valuable learning processes in my walk with the Lord (e.g. learning to be more dependent of Him than all kinds of other things, like my ability to accomplish things); opportunities for research that I had not planned for; helpful contacts with people who left the country soon afterward.

(addendum from December)