‘Oh, see now the restlessness of this little butterfly, while never in its life has it been more quiet and peaceful! It is something for which to praise God, since the reason why it does not know where to settle and to establish itself is that, having tasted such repose in God, everything it sees on earth displeases it…’
St. Teresa of Jesus ~ The Interior Castle
Hello, friends. I hope you are enjoying Pentecost. I went to church this morning for the first time in months. Hurrah! Our church is a half hour drive away and what with a husband who doesn’t drive and my ill health, we haven’t been able to get there. But we went today and were given a warm, kind welcome. I had the pleasure of telling people that I was getting better, in response to the question ‘how are you?’
In our everyday life we are waiting to find out whether the house which we would like to buy will ever be ours. For various reasons we have had our hopes raised and dashed more times than I can count. Hopefully we will have an answer in the next week or so… God is working His purpose out, one way or another. I don’t tend to get attached to ‘things’ very much, but for whatever reason I really do love this house. I am hoping that this love is because it is part of God’s plan, but either way I thank God for His gift of trust. I wonder if faith is my small act of will, but knowledge of grace, and the resulting trust, are what follows?
My grandmother died a few weeks ago. I was able to travel to her funeral and bring some comfort to my mother. Dear Granny was a simple soul who lived well into her 90s. God showed me a great thunderclap of a lesson as I sat listening to my uncle’s eulogy: God doesn’t require us to be in charge of the local homeless shelter or to run the church tea rota or [insert appropriate item]. It’s not that those things aren’t important, indeed the letter of James tells us they are vital…
‘My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it?’
James 2:14 (GNT)
…but sacrificing one’s time for the sake of others is not – surprisingly – what God requires. God desires us to have humility and trust, first, two things my dear granny had in abundance.
‘They then said, What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God? [What are we to do to carry out what God requires?]
Jesus replied, “This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].”
John 6:28-29 (Amplified)
I don’t believe for one minute that one can be a believer and ignore the needs of the oppressed, or the sick, or the marginalised. But we overestimate ourselves, and underestimate God, when we think we can do any of these things in our own strength. That’s what grace is for! The beauty of compassion (and it is incredible) must bubble up from within because God has placed it there. My dear, sweet grandmother had the heart of a child and the simplicity of faith that Jesus tells us is all we need. I never realised this until after her death (in my defence this is because for the last two decades she suffered dementia and lived in a care home), but I praise God for this revelation and thank Him for this example of a woman who, despite so much sadness, never lost her simplicity or her smile.
“Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me.”
Matthew 18:4-5 (Amplified)
I said goodbye knowing that Granny is home at last.
Her favourite hymn: