Tag Archives: trust

Lent 34

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Happy is a word that rarely belongs here in the roar of the storm, in the eye of the hurricane. Can we, then, be content? With all that racket and all that spume? The salt water constantly crashing up into our eyes and ears? Perhaps not. But neither can we sit here on this surface and be bobbed about so furiously and hold onto anything, not faith, and certainly not our breakfast. So what may be done, and what peace may be found? The temptation is surely to dive into the water and drown our sorrows, falling into the deep sleep of silent waters. And yet you say, we may sleep here in the stern, curled up in cushions and coats, oblivious, and let you take the rudder. The answer then, is not peace, but trust.

Art and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2018 (“Wake,” in pastels, using a reference photo by Cindy Frendt with kind permission)

Veil of Tears 107: In the Dark

107 lion-515029_1280 designerpoint pixabay

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” Daniel 6:16 NIV

At the time of writing, my heart is heavy because of several swords of Damocles that are hanging over myself and my loved ones. They are things that will decide our futures, where we live and how we live. If the sword falls one way, we might find freedom, another, and we’ll be trapped or hurt. Things aren’t exactly going to plan. My plan that is. And I think of Daniel, about to be thrown into the lions’ den, and though of course his peril was far greater than ours, I wonder if he thought along similar lines. “This wasn’t really how I imagined it would be, Lord, to follow you, to pray so fervently for your people, and care about their well-being, and end up preparing to be torn limb from limb.”

“Is this really your plan?!” We cry in out in our hearts. “Is this seriously the best you could come up with?”

And we think and feel like that because we can’t see what God can see. Because it does look back to front and topsy-turvy, and it really does hurt. And waiting for lions to devour us is pretty scary. But, suppose God is even greater than we imagine, and the lions are going to have their mouths shut by an angel he sends? And then our faith will be even stronger, and our blessings more obvious to count, and our gratitude deeper and set on wiser foundations.

So no, I can’t see in the dark whether there is an angel standing guard or not. I don’t know if those mouths are shut tight or bearing glistening sharp teeth at me, jowls slathering at the thought of tearing the flesh from my bones. No more do I know why the Lord keeps us in the dark so many times in our lives. But I do know that I can trust him, whatever happens. I do know that even when Nebuchadnezzar’s guards roll that stone across the mouth of the den, with me on the wrong side of it, that my God is the one who knows how to rescue me, and that he has a history of setting his hapless beloveds free, of calling them out of caves, of shutting the mouths of lions and opening the mouths of tombs.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

72: Horrified

72 tamtam78 pixabay fear horror-film-1236105_1920

Fear and trembling have beset me;

   horror has overwhelmed me.” Psalm 55:5 NIV

Even if I were well enough, you could not get me to watch a horror movie. I hate the portrayal of violence and gore, and am hopelessly easy to frighten. But different things horrify different people. My husband can watch the scariest films and barely bat an eyelid, the same with my stepson. Zombies, vampires and axe-wielding maniacs are merely entertainment to them. As, for that matter, are axe-wielding zombie vampires. But if any spiders are in the house, it’s me who deals with them.

Phobias are horrible irrational fears that can turn our palms sweaty in an instant. I get like that if I see a photo of a great white shark. Okay, slightly more dangerous than a house spider, but the fear is still rather irrational if it is started by a photograph and if it makes me then check under the duvet for possible marine marauders before I will get into bed.

But the horror that is overwhelming David in this Psalm is the horror of betrayal. Someone close to him has turned and become “bloodthirsty and deceitful.” No wonder this has completely taken the wind out of David’s sails and left him cold and shaken. People who betray our trust and cause us harm are far more horrifying than anything that lives in the ocean or that has eight legs.

And David’s hope? What does he hold onto with those sweaty hands to get him through the panic and the tremors? Faith – which can also be weak and trembling, but nevertheless beats any horrors, real or imagined, as long as it remains our anchoring point in life. “But as for me,” says this frightened man of God, “I trust in you.”

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

9: Disbelieved

9 disbelieved bluekdesign MF

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Luke 24:11 NIV

Two thousand years on and women are still used to being classed as lesser witnesses. For much of history we have been branded hysterical, untrustworthy and illogical. There is something deeply painful about not being believed. Imagine how these female disciples must have felt, shamed and pained as the men dismissed them and their amazing story!  I know something of this kind of pain particularly within my chronic illness, and have had cruel and disdainful treatment from medics, health professionals and even friends.

I see the same attitude time and time again around those with so-called “invisible” illnesses that are hard to quantify or diagnose, and with those with mental illnesses or depression.   One of the kindest and best things you can ever do for someone suffering with such a problem is to believe them. Believe them when they say they can’t do something, or that it is difficult, or that they are in pain, even when it seems hard for you in a healthy mind and body to credit.

When our experience is very different from the one being related, we can be very quick to dismiss the witnesses. And if we are prejudiced and already disinclined to believe the person because of their gender, their race, their religion, if they are in some way, not like us, or not quite the ticket, our belief is likely to be still weaker.

Only Peter of the twelve, went to check out the women’s story. Don’t you think he was glad he did?  Since then, many people have dismissed the gospel message as nonsense, but God is fond of using things that seem on the surface to not make sense, things that seem upside down or back to front to teach us. He delights in turning things on their head and using the small and weak to topple the rich and the powerful. He would rather have his earthly ministry funded by a collective of women than top businessmen, and rather have fishermen and tax collectors as his pupils, than the elite of the Temple schools. He would rather announce his resurrection to a group who were unlikely to be heard, than to government officials. After rising victorious from defeating hell and death, he would rather have a barbeque on the beach with his friends than stand in the arena preaching about his triumph.

Listen. Consider. Believe.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Morguefile.com