By Jenneth Graser –
So many conflicting messages worldwide, so much on the news, images of terror, violence, political upheaval and conspiracies. Recent news of a local murder in a nearby community, created seismic shock waves in the hearts and minds of many locals in the Western Cape of South Africa. And the carrying of so much unrest can lead to feelings of intimidation, shrinking back, a paling at the sight of so much gone wrong.
I began to feel, “…maybe our time here in South Africa is coming to an end. I must do research into possible immigration. A lot of people have done the same.” But my knee jerk reaction left me feeling very stressed, shrinking back, intimidated, defeated. God at the same time was calling me ever so gently through this time, into a trust that doesn’t make sense to earth-bound eyes.
It was during a time of worship at the piano during our time of Free Flow, (a contemplative prayer evening we have at our home) that I felt a song come to me:
Come into the garden again, let me take you by the hand. Come with me to the still waters, refresh your weary feet. Lay down in the green pastures, lay down your weary head. Trust in me with your whole heart, don’t rely on your ways of thinking. Acknowledge me in all your ways and I will surely lead you. Lay down your heavy load, and rest here. This moment with me, is all that matters. It’s all that matters.
Then I felt a lifting.
I have been coming to see that no matter where we are in the world, there is a shaking of all that once felt like normal, and it’s been going on for quite some time. The only way we can live in the peace Christ calls us to, is to surrender our own ability to hold it all together and take his hand. He is leading us into the place of rest in the midst of the storm. The resurrection life of Christ dispels fear and does the opposite of shrinking us. It expands and expands and expands us. Like the ever growing universe. We are enlarged in the power of Christ and his resurrection.
But I need to appropriate it, by resting in the truth of it. Letting go of the fears of the unknown and of what I cannot control. Imbibing the reality of resurrection. Making it part of me, by realising – it is me. I am resurrected and made one with the Trinity. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” Ephesians 2:6.
I need the help of the Holy Spirit to live in this rest. I cry out, Lord I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24) We all know in part, and one day we will know fully as we are fully known. (1 Cor 13:12) But for now, we have part of the picture and our thinking is shaped by so many things – our upbringing, our culture, our education… We need the ongoing renewal of the Spirit to bring us into alignment with truth. The truth of God is embedded in love. And this love expands through us with resurrection power that transforms our lives and the lives of others.
It may be just a small gesture, a sudden enlivening feeling within, a surge of creativity, a responsive forgiveness, a release of resentments, the melting of fears, a reaching out. Possibilities filling our dreams that we left long ago, dusty on a shelf. Now we can take them off and plant them in the ground and watch the Great Gardener at work. That often means we don’t get to see what is going on underground. We only get to see the signs of the life he works in time, with patience and with the willingness to lay down our need to know.
A dear friend gave me a branch of the Resurrection Bush. This twig looks like it must be destined for the compost tip. And yet, put it into some water and it miraculously turns from brown to green overnight. You can see the stirring response of the water sucked into what looked completely dead, and the leaves magically unfurl, freshly green! Jesus makes resurrection possible in every place. From our hearts, to the world we live in, resurrection is possible everywhere and for everyone.
I wake up to news of bombs, murder in the fynbos
Terror in eyes, flowers wilting on the fence, left for the dead.
My body is a withered bush, trying to remember the colour green… I
take myself out of myself, Into the mystery of resurrection. I
will myself to believe, suspend the striving brow
Uncrust my heart in the waters of truth flowing from your mouth.
I step into the amber river of your love,
I listen to the sound of water over the stones.
There is no worry, there is no fear.
Just pure letting go, holding the light, going, coming and going
With the flow.
Let me be so,
Let it be so.
Let us not look only with the eyes we can see, and react to what we see with the mind we have. Let us see with eyes looking from our true home, the vantage point of things eternal, and look with the mind of Christ to see every possible coming to life around us. We are the channel of his resurrection wherever we go. Let us speak to ourselves and to the world we live in, “Live! Breathe! Trust! Live again!” Where Shadows Passed by Laura Rhinehart