I have had a difficult week, and I felt that it was a good occasion to write something. Writing is cathartic, and assists us in moving ourselves on when we get self-preoccupied.
I am increasingly grateful for the resources of a faith tradition such as Christianity to ground us when we feel that the ground has come away from under us. So often, I assert that my foundation and only hope is Jesus Christ, yet when the wheels come off I discover that I was trusting in myself again all along! When will I look down, and realise that I am walking on the water, and actually all that was keeping me up was the Lord?
Thankfully, I can look back on occasions in my life where I know that without Him I would not have done what I have done. In faith, it is not actually something to boast of that we have achieved something by ourselves. It is a shame and a sin to trust in anything other than Him. And when we seek to do things by our own gumption, our own panache, out of our own heroism or intellect, the Lord regularly (not always! out of His glory and mercy) allows stuff to fall flat on its face.
Let me qualify the bit about it being a sin not to trust Him. There will be many days in our lives, where after a brief turning to the Lord in the morning, a quick ‘Father help me through the day’, we will look back with the evening sacrifice on that day and we will say: Wow, Lord, you really helped me through it. During the day we were not consciously calling on Him, we thought we were drawing on our own resources. But He was holding our hand all the way, and carrying us through.
It’s in what we say in our hearts that our own fickleness and craven self-dependence is exposed, at least to God, if not to ourselves. It is astonishing the thoughts and statements I will permit to circulate in my own mind without looking to Him, and I’m sure that I am no different to others. I have been using a book ‘Celtic Daily Prayer’ and it has a section on prayer in times of difficulty (I was looking at it last night!). One of the prayers is for those who are their own worst enemies. I can count myself among that number quite regularly.
Father, I pray for those out there as we go into the weekend who are their own worst enemies. Who, like the man in Proverbs 29v.1 who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes, will ‘suddenly be destroyed, without remedy’. How many of us sit under the danger of that reality? How many of us rush to bite the hand that feeds us, to criticise those in authority over us, to saw off the branch on which we are sitting?
Wisdom cries out in the streets, wisdom beams down in the sun and surges in the wind and rain, your guardian angels watch over us so that we do not even stumble over a stone, and how can we be anything but humble, when Christ humbled himself and gave himself for us, even to that horrific death on a cross?