So as I started writing this post, about fear, and its false faces, its masks, I refer to some quotes I've culled from an email I opened this afternoon.
I experiment with online devotionals. Some have gone away, some change their style...some get political. The one I like right now is Transformation Garden. In the devotional for January 6, labeled "Handling the future with faith or futility," Dorothy Valcarcel has compiled a group of hymns, quotes, and poems that point that we have a choice, and our choice has to do with how much trust we put in our Savior. I have pretty much lifted all the quotes herein from that devotional, in an effort to encourage myself and hopefully you, dear reader. If you want to receive Dorothy's devotional, you can subscribe by clicking on this link.
Now, I know, dear reader, that you may not trust God or want to. But these quotes do have a wisdom that I hope translates without sounding namby-pamby.
I like this one, from Dorothy Hughes: "Nobody can take away your future. Nobody can take away something you don't have yet." (italics mine.)
I so often forget that the future is this fluid occurrence that hasn't happened yet. My novel-writer's mind has every detail laid out. The story of my life is laid out in my mind: it is so detailed, layered with meaning, that it has me convinced, until it doesn't happen and my confidence crashes once again. I hope this year that I can be more accepting of each moment as it happens, even while I plan for the future that I don't count on a specific outcome.
I recently watched the movie Prince Caspian. It amazed me, the thousands of years of time travel that occurred as the British children were once again taken to the mythical land of Narnia. Here is C.S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia books, talking about the futility of grasping for the future:
"The next moment is as much beyond our grasp, and as much in God's care, as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is just as foolish as care for a day in the next thousand years. In neither can we do anything, in both God is doing everything."
Now, dear reader, this next poem could either make you smile and nod or want to throw up. It is not my desire to illicit the second response, I promise, but I really like it, and I do cling to the encouragement it offers. It's by John Greenleaf Whittier, the Quaker poet.
I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.
No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.
And so beside the silent sea
I wait the muffled oar,
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.
I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care."
That last bit reminds me of Psalm 139:7-12, where the psalmist writes that there is nowhere he can go where God is not also:
7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Well, the light is gone now. I will be driving home soon. But first, dinner. Because one thing I do know, without a shadow of doubt: if it's snowy and I'm hungry and I have to drive, it is better to EAT FIRST.