A Journey Unfolding
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ruthlessly? Not yet...

Excerpts from Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God by Brennan Manning:

When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at "the house of the dying" in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa. She asked, "And what can I do for you?"

Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. "What do you want me to pray for?" she asked.

He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the United States: "Pray that I have clarity."

She said firmly, "No, I will not do that."

When he asked her why, she said, "clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of."

When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, "I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God."

Craving clarity, we attempt to eliminate the risk of trusting God. Fear of the unknown path stretching ahead of us destroys childlike trust in the Father’s active goodness and unrestricted love. - p 6

The basic premise of biblical trust is the conviction that God wants us to grow, to unfold, and to experience fullness of life. However, this kind of trust is acquired only gradually and most often through a series of crises and trials.

The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signaled the movement and offered it his presence and his promise. - p 9

A person should not act impulsively, of course. A careful discernment process involving family, friends, and a spiritual mentor should precede every major decision. But when the appropriate time comes, only the disciple with an unflinching trust in God will dare to risk. And that trust is not naïve; it knows that the possibility of making a mistake and getting hurt is very real. But without exposure to potential failure, there is no risk. - p 21

Anyone God uses significantly is always deeply wounded. It is no coincidence that the title of the latest book by Michael Ford on the life and ministry of Henri Nouwen is Wounded Prophet. We are, each and every one of us, insignificant people whom God has called and graced to use in a significant way. In his eyes, the high-profile ministries are no more significant than those that draw little or no attention and publicity. On the last day, Jesus will look us over not for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars. - p 48

Here is a point of capital importance for our biblical understanding of trusting Jesus. In Western thinking knowledge is the intellectual apprehension of reality, the mind's affirmation of a truth perceived. In the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, knowledge is felt, it arises from an experience of God in faith and love rather than from human investigation. Knowledge is the fruit of a faith-encounter with Jesus as the Christ. It is simply not possible to receive the revelation of God in the transcendent/immanent Christ without experience. - p 87

Christianity is not a message which has to be believed, but an experience of faith that becomes a message." - p 88

And quite possibly yet another perspective along the same lines of thinking - from another one of my life's heroes...

From the Journal's of James Elliot:

"So I was praying that Jesus would give you a very specific vision for what He has you down there for - specific to this season of your life - What God wants to accomplish IN you and THROUGH you - I think He has to first work in you before the vision can be accomplished through you (and there is other various thoughts on that)- Vision is a mission from heaven, vision gives purpose and with purpose there is acceptance - acceptance being a form of surrender and I think somewhere under that springs of joy can then bubble forth - it's just gotta get unburied first. So the equation goes - Vision for circumstances + acceptance of circumstances = purpose which then produces joy amid circumstances."

Where do I aling myself in this quandary? Questions for the One who holds my future and my today's, and knows I seek such clarity.

May I seek Your face Lord and not Your hand...

Maria at 8:30 PM


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