Over and over this year, I have been reflecting on two small verses in a Psalm I had never really noticed before. Now, just so you know, faith comes fairly easy to me. And yet, these words have challenged my idea of a lifestyle of faith, and six months in, I am still not done trying to live in light of these two verses.
These words are sweet, of course, but they stopped me in my tracks for a whole other reason. Suddenly, I realised that it was only when the natural props in my life fail me that I am aware and conscious of the invisible safety net that has been there all along, unappreciated and the last thing on my mind - the Lord's unfailing love supporting me.
A simple thought came to me when I read these verses.
What would it look like if I put aside all my focus and trust in so many things that are so prone to fail me and just allow the unfailing love of God to be my safety net?
What if I stopped fussing about getting all my ducks in a row and instead lived completely conscious of His unfailing love as my only security?
I distilled it down for myself in two ways: 'Stop resolving everything, Jeff!' and 'Walk away from the boat and not toward it.'
In a fumbling and bumbling way I tried it on for size. It was not easy or comfortable, especially for a 'Mr Fix-it' type of guy like myself. Trying to stop the knee-jerk default reactions to grasp onto natural solutions for every problem within the family was not easy for me. As the months have passed by this year I have felt myself being turned inside out by this very simple idea.
Then came a proliferation of ordinary garden-variety miracles, small and easy to miss, but so anticipated when you have put aside the usual ways of getting everything sorted.
Let me tell you about my post-it notes. You see what is in my 'brain' is represented by a mass of yellow sticky notes that lie between my computer keyboard and screen - things I need to remember to do, good ideas, and most of all my issues. Right now one of these post-it notes says the word 'plumber.' That one is about the two toilets in our home that are on the blink. Another mentions something financial that needs resolving in our business . . . and so on. I find it's good for the soul when I action the post-it's, screw each piece of paper up and bin it with a flourish when something is done!
Then, as I was working one day, the Lord interrupted me with the words, 'bits of paper.' I had no I idea what He was talking about for a while - it felt like I was playing some strange sort of game of charades with the Almighty.
And then I got it. He had come to let me know that he wanted to take responsibility for my collection of post-it notes.
As a result, I've changed the look of my notes. Now, when I write my concern or reminder, I divide the note in two with a diagonal line. One part has the date and the issue I need resolved and the other side stays blank until I get my miracle. Then, when it's all resolved, I write the date and details of the everyday miracle there on the note, and stick it into a book I have kept aside for the purpose.
When I look inside my book I see one example after another. I have a motorcycle which could do to be kept in a garage. Only, our garage right now is doubling as my eldest son's bedroom as well as a kind of teen hangout room with a ping-pong table, Xbox and lounges. There's no room for my motorbike in there. And this was worrying me because motorbikes don't like being in the rain all the time and it would be the understatement of the year to say it rains a lot in Wellington, New Zealand. So I wrote down 'motorcycle' on a post-it with a diagonal line and waited.
A few days later I dropped in on one of my mates who has a bike as well and as we talked, I mentioned my garaging problem. 'Wait a minute,' he said, and then for the next twenty minutes he went on the hunt for a motorcycle cover he had been given and never uses - something I had not even thought of as a solution. The next day I put the cover over my motorcycle and filled out the other side of the paper. The Lord's unfailing love had come through for me again, but in a sweet and simple way that hardly looked like a miracle at all!
In the juggle of life, I realized, I had become so averse to anything going wrong that I made sure I only had a few balls in the air at any one time.
No risk. No complexity. Keep it all tight and doable and safe!
But what God has taught me through this is that as more balls get added into the act that is my life, when it feels like my feet are slipping out from under me, when the small stuff piles up, that's exactly when I need to fall back, not on my better management, but on His unfailing love. The more stuff that is up in the air the more He has to use!
His infinite intellect can find (amongst what I would see as chaos) a bunch of miraculous and wonderful resolutions that are invisible to my eye and my mind as He works everything for good in my life. Its like offering him a larger hand when He is playing cards with my life as the stake. The less I do to resolve it all, I've found, the more He has to work with.