Ever since my recent Gethsemani retreat (5/6-8) I’ve been thinking about childlike faith and trust, especially against the backdrop of the Dark Night of the Soul. (I’ve also been thinking about the childlikeness of God, via George MacDonald, but that will be a separate post, Lord willing).
This blessing from Larry Hein (given to Brennan Manning) comes to mind:
“May all your expectations be frustrated, may all your plans be thwarted, may all your desires be withered into nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is Father, Son and Spirit.”
I feel, often with waves of terror, the withering away of my desires -the slow and painful powerlessness that comes from letting deep things go. The dreams I cling to are slowly and painfully slipping away and I am permitted to feel the nothingness in its place. It can be overwhelming! But the Lord remains with me; he is faithful even though I am not.
Psalm 131 has also been a comfort and a focus:
(1) O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
(2) But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
(3) O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore. (ESV)
My disciplines of late have been all about “calming and quieting” my soul, of realizing my limits and taking my eyes down off great and marvelous things/projects that are way too big for me. For example, instead of worrying about where money will come from in a few months time, focus on today’s provision and God’s promise of daily bread (see also Matthew 6).
How long, O Lord?