Archives, Biography, Pondering, Wheaton

Walking in What Is

This weekend I am leading a retreat based on Psalm 86:11. This verse is the heart of this intense psalm of supplication: “Teach me your ways, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. Unite my heart to you that I may fear your name.” I’ve spent much time reflecting upon the flow of this small, powerful prayer: first from instruction to actual movement within that truth. And then this audacious petition: may the union of intellect, imagination and power to make decisions be united as one undivided human heart. What an amazing prayer: may my whole heart actually be in sync with your own great heart, O Lord.

But in the midst of my rich theological ruminations comes an all–too-earthy medical procedure this morning with a somewhat murky outcome, and I am thrown from my comfortable Mary-like posture of sitting, eager to be taught, propelled out the door to learn to walk in the truth I’ve been pondering.

I am increasingly convinced that I best learn how to “walk in God’s truth” when the road is paved with large stones and hair-pin curves. I have to pay close attention to the road. I can’t put my theology on cruise-control. And I have to slow down and pay close attention to the promptings of the Spirit who loves nothing more than to work in the truths I would, at times, prefer just to think about. And here is the truth for the moment: To be taught the Lord’s way is to learn that He meets us not in an imagined “what if” but in the real “what is.”

The uphill climb, therefore, is to fight my imagination’s ability to explore a whole lot of rabbit trails. Today’s battle is to think of something besides “what if the test comes back positive?” As I have walked through life with several friends this week, the “what ifs” have sounded like this: “What if this person I love refuses to get help?” “What if there is no place for me when this job ends?” and “What if I don’t have the strength I need for the next thing I need to do?”“What ifs” are one of the primary fuel sources of a divided heart. 

My mind quickly trips down paths of disaster and denial, while all the while a still small voice whispers,”Here, my child. You’ll find me here. In the step you are on, not the routes of fear or folly. Come to me and rest. I will give you what you need for this moment. And I promise to be there around the all-too-real curve you can’t yet see.”Walking in “what is.” The rockiest roads often yield the most breath-taking views. Lord, strengthen the imaginings of my heart to walk focused in what I know today, entrusting the future to you. And, Lord, in the midst of the struggle, may I not miss today’s view along the way.

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