It’s been more than a year since we met.
During that last conversation, a funny pact. He’d expressed a lot of confidence over the days to come. Said that if things were really bad, he would send me rations.
I’ve always kept that in mind – not so much his vote of confidence, as the hilarious image of receiving a sack of rice at my doorstep. On more than a few hard days, that image has made me smile in spite of myself.
So I was quite excited to be meeting him again recently. Knew exactly what I would do – and planned for it. Planning for it brought back a feeling I’ve not had for a long while. The feeling of preparing a present, a surprise, for another person. The feeling of hoping that it’ll bring a smile or laugh. The feeling of giving away my time, money, effort and care – and yet coming away richer than before it.
I have not had this feeling for a long while.
It stems partly from a daily life that is much less stable, less trusting, and much more lonely now.
After a recent project, a client gave me a lift home. During that journey, my client asked me how I feel about the experience so far (we share the same faith). Amongst other things, I mentioned that I miss having a place to go to, where I know I will see certain people daily. Where there is enough everydayness that you can know each other, even each others’ families – and in some cases, you can even be quite sure that it’s who you are, not what you do, that counts. My client had a simple albeit unexpected response to that yearning: “Take care of the bread & butter issues. Once those settle, it’ll be easier.”
What a godsend! For some reason, I felt guilt subside. It is really ok to be concerned about bread & butter issues! It doesn’t mean I don’t have faith. … And maybe how I feel about ‘community’ is distorted somewhat by uncertainties like “Will there be income next month?”
But I digress.
We picked up from where we left off, and it was good. He remembered this rice pact, and we had a good laugh about it. We talked about our families’ salvation, about medicals, about things that couldn’t have happened if we weren’t where we are now. It brought back another feeling I’ve not had for a long while – conviction. Not of saving the world, or confidence in visible abilities. Conviction that whatever happens, it too shall pass.
“…the single greatest obstacle to the impact of the gospel has not been its inability to provide answers, but the failure on our part to live it out. That failure not only robs us of our inner peace but mars the intended light that a consistently lived life brings to the one observing our message.
The Christian message is a reminder that our true malady is one that morality alone cannot solve. A transformed heart by God’s grace is the efficacious power that lifts us beyond mere morality. It is the richness of being right with God. His grace makes up for what our wills cannot accomplish.
At its core, the call of Jesus is a bountiful invitation to trust and freedom to live in the riches of that relationship. I am only free in as much as I can surrender to God and trust Him to give me the purpose for which my soul longs. This is the wonder and power of a redeemed heart. If I cannot surrender and trust Him, I am not free. We must know to whom we belong and who calls us all to the same purpose. Only when I am at peace with God can I be at peace with myself, and only then will I be at peace with my fellow humans and truly free.” (http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking/think-again-beyond-mere-morality/)