We have all seen the self-confident child running around and exploring everything there is to see. Then, sometimes, the child looks around and can’t find their parent or older sibling and a look of confusion or fear comes to their face.
It reminds me of the gospel story of Peter walking on the water from the boat to Jesus. He is fine until he looks down and lets a doubt come into his mind. “I can’t walk on water!” Peter was doing just that, but by thinking of what he was doing instead of looking at Jesus, the “impossible act” becomes impossible for him.
We copy the child and Peter. When things are going well, we sail along. Then something happens and we look around to try to find the one who is always there.
Fortunately, God understands our weakness and provides various means to help us get on track. In my recent readings, God has repeatedly led me to understand that I need to live knowing He is there even without thinking about it.
This is a message He repeatedly sends to me. Years ago, I was in what is usually considered a “New Thought” church, part of the Unity School of Christianity . It would be considered liberal by many people. James Dillet Freeman (1912-2003) served as their “poet laureate” Most Unity churches end their service by saying Freeman’s “Prayer for Protection”:
The Light of God surrounds Us
The Love of God enfolds Us
The Power of God protects Us
and the Presence of God watches over Us
Where ever we are God is! And all is well!
It is a wonderful reminder that there is no place we can be where God isn’t. Whatever we do and wherever we are, He knows it and is watching over us and watching for us.
And yet, let us find something that bothers us or doesn’t go the way we want and we start asking “Where is God?” The answer, of course, is right there, next to us. But we decide to ignore that and believe that “if God were there” the result would be different.
I have just been introduced to Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest. It is a set of daily devotions originally published in 1935. In his entry for August 20 he writes that “A child of God never prays to be made aware of the fact that God answers prayers, because he is so restfully certain that God always answers prayer.”
That indeed is childlike trust. To be so certain of God’s presence and love that we don’t have to continually ask if He is there.
In Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning talks about how to move all of this from an idea to something we live.
Our trust in Jesus grows as we shift from making self-conscious efforts to be good to allowing ourselves to be loved as we are (not as we should be). The Holy Spirit moves us from the head to the heart, from intellectual cognition to experiential awareness. An inward stillness pervades our being, and the time of prayer is characterized by less rational reflection and speaking and more contemplative quiet and listening.
I would love to be able to add my own experiences and observations to all this, but I can’t. I have been blessed with moments of this peace but, all too few. I spend far more time trying to do it myself or “be good” or whatever I can think of instead of relying on God.
I started this site because I know I need to get the message and God could use my writing efforts to give me another way to hear Him. That is certainly the case for this subject.
I know God is waiting for me to have a childlike trust in Him. I am currently far from that. I hope my writing this will help anyone who reads it. I don’t know if they “need to hear this.” I know I do.