I’m a sucker for memorable and beautifully-crafted quotes. Many, many, many people are gifted with this wonderful ability to convey something – truth, feeling, emotion, whatever it may be – in ways I, and so many others, can immediately identify with. They capture something in words and sentences I am unable to. Consequently, if I come across a quote or piece of writing that sounds a chord in me, I quickly scribble it down so I can refer back to it. I guess in a fairly odd way they become like friends – listening to them provides comfort, perspective, strength and hope at those times where I need it, even if it simply reminds me that I am not alone.
(I guess that means if I did ever meet the people behind such wonderful words, we’d probably get along rather well over a cup of tea and homemade cake – or donuts!)
The piece of writing at the end of this post is one such example. I came across it in a book I read a few months back. As my eyes gazed over its words, something within me quickly stirred – like the way you instantly connect with someone who you discover has gone through a similar experience or difficulty to you. A friendship is formed.
When I think and reflect on faith and trust in God, both from my own experience and those of others, I am always struck by the different seasons and challenges the journey often takes us through. Sometimes we rise on the mountain of faith and expectation, and other times we trudge wearily through the valley of doubt and despair. Sometimes God’s presence feels tangible, near, comforting and warm, at other times distant, apathetic and hidden. Sometimes we can see clearly where God is leading us, at other times we can’t see where exactly our next step will land.
And yet, I’ve come to appreciate the different seasons and challenges the journey sometimes takes me through. I am grateful (often begrudgingly!) that God sometimes hides the presence that feels so warm, the answers that quench doubt and the future which is certain, because it causes me to place my feet firmly on the reality of who God is – not the box I sometimes neatly put Him in, the picture I like to paint Him as, or the emotions and feelings I can too readily rely on. He is far greater than that.
So who is God?
No amount of words could ever answer that question. For now, and to again take the words of another, I’ll refer to a conversation about Aslan (who represents Jesus) between Mr Tumnus and Lucy in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe:
‘After all, he is not a tame lion’. ‘No,’ Lucy replies, ‘but he is good’.
God is good. Many a time I’ve come back to these three words. Sometimes they’ve all I’ve had to cling to when the call comes to step-out in naked trust and into the undefined.
For fear of waffling, I’ll leave you with the words of Brennan Manning. He’s captured the challenge and beauty of trust wonderfully. I’ve gone back to this friend a few times already. I’m sure I’ll keep coming back.