As I walk to pick up the book on discernment, my heart quakes. What if I heard wrong? What if God changes his mind? What if I discover that the call that I thought I heard, the one that felt like freedom and Life, lies in contradiction to the principles of good discernment?
My mind is set at ease as I discover that the questions in the book are leading to the same answer I thought I heard from God.
What bothers me more now is how quickly I doubt God. How can I see his fingerprints of love all over my days and yet still doubt whether he can be trusted with my life? What keeps my automatic response set on doubt and suspicion, wiring me so firmly to resist full surrender to Love? What do I fear. . . and why?
For two days I wrestle with these questions while the patient One waits quietly, sometimes whispering a few words into my struggle.
“. . . the LORD is upright;
he is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
(Ps 92:15 NRSV)
He reminds me gently that He will not tease or mock. He is not fickle. This One cannot act against His character, will not behave in a way that undermines the relationship He seeks.
I can trust Him. But even when I struggle to trust, He will not give up and leave. His commitment to the process of developing intimacy with me is limitless.
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.”
(2 Timothy 2:13, NRSV)
I wrestle unsuccessfully with the whys of my fear until Sunday morning when I am reminded of the garden choice that led to this hard-wired challenge.
As the new couple ignores warnings of death and chooses independence, “our relationship with God unravels. What was a relationship of trust and delight and love and intimacy is now marked by suspicion, doubt, fear, and guilt . . . . The characteristic posture of humanity now toward God is actually one of hiding. We sense the gentle stirrings of God moving in our lives, and we hide.” (Darrell Johnson – Grace outrunning the avalanche of sin)
And I understand my struggle to trust. I see how, as a child of Adam and Eve, I am hard-wired to hide. But I also hear grace.
“God asks the question, ‘Adam, where are you?’ The point? God really wants this relationship and is not going to give up on it. God’s question is pure grace. . . . God asks the question as a way to draw us back into fellowship. He knows that we’re afraid and that we feel shame, and so he draws us out of hiding instead of forcing us out of hiding. . . .
And God then clothes the fearful, ashamed humans. God does not pull them out from the bush and make them stand naked before him. . . . God knows our need to hide, and so provides a hiding place in his very presence.” (Darrell Johnson – Grace outrunning the avalanche of sin)
This grace sets me free. I need not condemn myself for struggling to trust. God doesn’t. Instead, He gently calls me to bring my quaking heart back into His presence where it can be healed. I timidly crawl out from under the bush into His waiting arms. And I look back to find even the bush where I hid on fire with His presence.