I forget, and all too easily, the things I always tell my kids to remember. Like "You are learning. I don't expect you to know this or get it right. That's why we're here! All I ask is that you don't give up." But then I look at my life and this first week of the new year, first steps of a journey with trust, and I already feel like a failure.
And I long for it deep - this continual coming of Christ in my life, this constant Light shining. And I don't want to miss it! I don't want to walk with the clenched fists and tight jaw saying, "No, God." And we sing it at church: "Let us become more aware of your presence. Let us experience the glory of your goodness. Holy Spirit you are welcome here..." And after the way my year started, I know what a dangerous prayer that can actually be.
As we talk over brunch, it is clear - I am experiencing the glory of His goodness, and it is beautiful. But it is not without pain. That confuses me in a way. But then I read John's words - preparing a way for the Lord. So I flip back to Isaiah with Handel's Messiah playing in my head and I think, "It's earth-shattering!" Valleys raised up and mountains laid low and rough ground made level. This will rock your entire world and leave you feeling shaken, at least. And this is the making a way for Jesus!
And yes, the ground beneath me and around me shakes, but He is good and I can stand and it's there at the end of chapter 1. Jesus says to Nathanael, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." And I gawk at the thought of it. Jesus saw him before he was called. Jesus saw him. He took notice of him. And maybe that's the real miracle of it all. And yeah, when the Son of God says He knows me because He sees me, it does lead me to believe, to stand firm while the world shakes and say, "Come Lord. You are truly welcome here. Have your way in me." And Jesus said it to Nathanael, and He says it to me and to you as well, "You believe because I saw you when you were still sitting under the [fill in the blank. Bondage of anxiety? Depression? Fear? Idolatry of comfort? Self-doubt? Self-sufficiency? Self-righteousness? Fig trees come in all shapes, like baggage.] You shall see greater things than this." Oh, how I love that! I saw you when you were a mess and I called you... and as if that wasn't miracle enough, you'll see greater things than this.
It's like my voice teacher used to say... There's more! More love. More faithfulness. More goodness. More grace. More than I could ask or imagine. He sees and He knows and I can stand through it all. No fear. All trust.