The protection of God

When you turn your life over to God, there is a certain protection in that surrender: being loved by God and loving Him, there is a flow of positive energy in your life, although it doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen to you. But–and it’s a big but—He will always be there with you no matter what. So being a follower of the Lord is not like an insurance policy against sickness or even death, where there is a payout when a difficulty strikes you, but He assures us that He will always be there with us. Thus God is always our companion, even nurse, counselor, compassionate friend, mother, father as we go through life. He is whatever we need at any moment.

[I wish that our English language had better pronouns than just he, she and it, because none of them begin to describe what God is like to me. And I really hate the modern way of never saying He, and inserting she or God at every turn, because I believe that the gender part of God is just such a tiny aspect of who the Holy One is.]

When I write these essays, it is like God is thinking in and through my mind. I know how I think, usually with some hidden agenda in my mind, or with fear and anxiety at the forefront, so when I begin to think clearly, to think bigger than I am, or with a knowing that I hadn’t experienced before, then I know that the Lord is present, not just thinking in me, but wanting me to express that thinking. Because of this tendency of His to think through me and my tendency to forget what I don’t write down, I keep a pen and notebook in my purse, in my car, by my bedside; the ideas tend to come when I am least expecting them. The essays don’t come already written, but if I can get just a sentence or key words of the idea down on paper, I will be able to write out the essay just from a few scribblings even much later. I keep a paper-clipped stack of these ideas, waiting for the right timing to write each one.

Today I was awakened by a cell phone call at 5:27 am; annoyed and worried, I hurried to find my phone. Getting it too late, I checked the missed call list, called back to hear the message from some Melinda person in the San Francisco Bay Area that I had never heard of. I tried to go back to sleep, and was drifting off when I began to think of this idea about the positive flow in my life and God’s being with me if anything bad ever happens. This thinking persisted for a while as I tried to sleep, unsuccessfully, so I got up and wrote down a sentence in the journal on my nightstand so I wouldn’t forget it, turned off the light and hoped I would go back to sleep. Well, finally, as the thinking continued, I decided that this needed to be written out fully now, not later, so I got up, retrieved my computer and started typing.

I have thought about this dual protection that God offers for a long time, maybe since the death of my husband eight years ago, I’m not sure. It was certainly true then: Hank had had a bout of lymphoma in 2000, suffered through the accompanying chemotheraphy and was declared cancer free in September of that year. So I was shocked when early in December he was back in the hospital with that cancer raging in him–only three months later. I was exhausted; by three pm I would be complaining to myself: “isn’t it bedtime yet, can’t I go to sleep now?” Somehow, after a week or so of this extreme tiredness, I was given to understand that my fear and clinging to his life was the problem. If I could just hold all possible outcomes equally, instead of insisting on his living, then that’s what I should do. The minute that I was able to do that, my exhaustion fled; for the next two months I was able to cope well with his illness, support him, our kids and our friends; I had plenty of energy, and was filled with joy at being alive and sadness that he was sick.

I was supported magnificently through his passing, while my faith went wide and deep. If I’m telling this story to someone I can’t say this without my hands drawing a huge circle. I was a rock and no one could have dislodged me from my faith in God. This was a seminal experience for me. Even when it was clear that he was dying, my practice still was to not settle on that: I would say to myself: “even though it is clear that he is dying, that isn’t the only possible outcome here.” After the memorial service was over and the kids went home, then I dropped into the grief that the Lord had held at bay.

I don’t pretend that my story is everyone’s story. Or even that I have some special wisdom, but I do have the gift of a tremendous faith in God and God’s ways. I love my life, there is a richness that is so satisfying and so completely me. And recently there is passion and a new way of working with others that is very respectful of others’ processes and timing. It’s an interesting combination for me, one I have never experienced before. There is something so whole about not violating another person by imposing my will on them and yet being totally passionate about what I am called to do. Now only God can manage that!

last edited on October 3rd, 2009 at 8:42 PM

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