November message

Sometimes, in life, you have to let go. Dont you? Things happen, and it feels like youre hanging over a cliff, with no strength to climb back up. Youre scared about what will happen if you let go. But you dont have any choice. Isnt that awful? No, thats good, because youll never know if God will catch you unless you let go.

A man walked across a railway bridge during the night. A train came towards him, so he climbed over the side and hung on for dear life. Then he couldnt get back up. He imagined falling hundreds of feet to his death. But he held on until the sun came up. Then he looked down and he was three inches from the ground.

Our faith says, Go ahead and let go. Trust God.We have trouble with that. We want control. But God says, Let go of the stuff where youve got to make yourself right. When you do, youll learn to trust me.

Gods not tame. Sometimes we try to let go. We say, Lord, if I trust you, will you promise I wont get hurt?Well… No. Will you promise that, if I do it right, I will feel good and become a more faithful and obedient Christian?Well… No. Will I feel better about myself, have a better self-image?Sometimes. Sometimes not. What about my doubts and fears. Will they go away?Sometimes. Sometimes theyll get worse. If I tell you what I want, have faith and pray properly, will you give it to me?Youll find out.

I have that conversation a lot. I have since found that a lot of the doubts, fear, confusion I felt have only one purpose - to get rid of this silly notion that God is controllable. Hes not. If you think youve got God worked out and controlled, youre worshipping an idol.

Im learning how little I actually control. We didnt control where we were born, didnt decide who our parents were, what circumstances played in our growing up. We cant control our husbands, wives, children, without emotionally killing them. We pretend weve got it together, with few fears, and in control. But when we come before God, we realise we cant control him. So we either get angry, go into denial, or learn to trust him.

Thats what children do. Jesus tells us to be like little children. Children trust. Mainly they trust because they have no power. President Lincoln said, during the American Civil War, that he got on his knees in prayer because there was nothing else he could do. A child is without power. A child cant loan you money, or pull strings for you. A childs fame wont rub off on you, and a child can hardly help you out.

I have great problems with these motivational programmes that tell people how wonderful, powerful and successful they will be if they just do this and that. God doesnt say that. In fact, with God there is nothing we can do except pray and trust.

When Carlo Hereto was young, he moved swiftly up the ecclesiastical ladder of the Catholic Church. Then, aged forty-four, he was summoned by God to the desert. He joined The Little Brothers of Jesus, in contemplation and prayer. In his book: Letters From The Desert.He said: I discovered I was nothing, that I was responsible for no one, that I was a man of no importance, and it gave me the joy of a boy on holiday.Thats what is means to be childlike - to recognise that the power is his and not yours.

Im realising how little I can change about my lack of power. That is childlikeness. Childlikeness is helplessness and trust. Childlikeness is also knowing theres no point being miserable over things you cant control. So, dance and sing! God is so big, so awesome, and so God, that anything excessively serious or pompous seems to be just silly and superficial. Instead, I find myself overjoyed by what God has done.

So, be children before your heavenly Father. Realise your helplessness. Learn to trust no matter what. Take God so seriously that, despite this world, you can do nothing other than dance and sing.

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