wrestling and waiting

“Father, teach us all how to wait.”
Andrew Murray


(shelf fungus / Julie Cook / 2017)

I must confess that I’ve been in a prayerful desert as of late.
Meaning I have been petitioning God long and hard…
yet it seems that my pleas just fall upon a vast emptiness….
as in…deaf ears.

However I know that I am not alone in my frustration or perplexity
of this seemingly one way spiritual conversation.

I am not the first nor will I be the last to beat upon the gates of Heaven
only to hear…what is perceived to be…..nothing.

Yet on and on I pray with little to show for my diligence.

Or so it seems…I go unanswered.

There are tears.
There is anger.
There is frustration.
There is indifference…
and there is a sense of hopelessness….
until….
It all begins all over again….
As a determined penitent rolls up her sleeves, continuing on, unabated.

It is because I will not be deterred…
not by the whispered doubts and naysaying….
not by the one who would like nothing more than for me to quit,
give up and walk away in disgust and frustrated anger.

And the truth is that somedays are indeed much harder then others…

And so today, as I was continuing to walk through the desert,
focused and imploring….
I actually stumbled upon a small respite of wisdom.

For I learn just how old my plight actually is….
As the wisdom of those who have trod this path before offer me a cup
of refreshing living water….

My child, hear about another delusion.
There are also other monks who work on all the virtues together,
and trust in their works. And when they pray and ask something from God,
they do not seek it with humility, but with insolence and pretension,
as if they have obligated God with their toils and therefore He owes it to them.
When they are not heard and the Lord does not do their will,
they are troubled and greatly grieved.
Then when the Devil our enemy sees them with this ignorance,
he attacks them with twisted thoughts and teaches them saying,
“See? You are struggling so hard even until death to work for Him,
and He doesn’t even listen to you!
So why do you work for Him?”
Then he pushes him to blaspheme the name of God,
so that he may enter inside him and possess him,
and then people bind him with chains….

But you, my beloved child in the Lord, since you are obedient,
and confess everything openly, do not be afraid.

excerpt from Elder Joseph the Hesychast.
Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast.
An Epistle to a Hesychast Hermit. Chapter XII.

For the full reflection see the post:
https://thoughtsintrusive.wordpress.com

There are times when our prayers seem so one sided.
On and on we pray, beseeching and imploring and yet….we hear no movement..
we see no results.

We often expect, or if the truth be told… we actually demand,
that after we’ve demonstrated an unrelenting persistence of time, energy and focus…
then surely God will move Heaven and Earth in order to show us how much He cares
and just how well He listens and just how much He agrees with each
and every component of our prayer…never mind if there are others involved in
said prayer…

As it is all just so utterly frustrating when we believe that all we see and hear
is merely empty silence.

No movement, no shifting, no little glimmer that things are working in the direction
of our desire, need, hope, want….

And for many, it seems almost cruel…this silence.

Yet we are told that no prayer goes unheard.

I once heard it put that God answers prayers in one of three ways….
Yes
No
Not now….

And more often then not, it is the ‘not now’ that is most vexing.

And so we pray on…

Because He knows and He sees and He is listening…

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end,
so that what you hope for may be fully realized.

Hebrews 6:11

keep on…

Ain’t nothin’ holdin’ me back nothin’
I’ll keep right on
Right on truckin’
Ain’t nothin’ holdin’ me back nothin’
I’ll keep right on
Right on truckin’

Lyrics Keep on Truckin
Eddie Kendicks

dscf0760
(Robert Crumb’s famous comic, Keep on Truckin / 1968)

When I was an adolescent, Robert Crumb’s iconic 1960’s cartoon of the “keep on truckin”
man was a prolific image.
It was reproduced on everything from T-shirts to posters to coffee mugs …
and as an adolescent, I certainly bought into the image….
doodling it all over my school notebooks, having mother sew a patch on my favorite jacket…

And so perhaps now it is more than just little ironic that the thought of this certain
little cartoon percolates back to the surface of my consciousness.

This exaggerated comic drawing appealed to me not so much because the image was
heavily tuned into the hippie / anti establishment movement,
as that was a far cry from my little corner of the world,
but rather because it seemed to represent a lackadaisical, yet persistent,
air of perseverance.

A sense of pressing on while just keeping on…
Going on despite any sort of obstacle….
As in stepping over any sort of barrier,
or just letting things roll off like the water off the back of a duck…

And as it often so happens in life,
those seemingly benign little things from our past that must have made some
sort of timely or even a minimal impression,
come bubbling back to the surface just when most needed…

Perseverance…steadfastness…persistence…
or as stated by dictionary.com, the continuance in a state of grace to the end,
leading to eternal salvation.

And so, as I find myself “truckin” on over to Dads..
where all is in a state of hanging in,
hanging on
and hopefully keeping on….
indeed, here’s to the notion of keep on keeping on–
trunking on with Grace…
all the way to eternal Salvation…
Cause it’s the only way to go…

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might
so that you may have great endurance and patience,
and giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom
of the Son he loves,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1 Colossians 1:11-14

Your song to me

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”
Plato

And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
Psalm 27:6

DSC00955
(cardinal singing high in the tree tops / Julie Cook / 2015)

Head down,
busy doing,
lost in thought

When a delightful sound,
A lyrical tittering cadence,
calls for my attention

My head lifts
My eyes search
Seeking the source of the call

I careen my neck
Looking high into the trees
The lush new foliage hiding your presence

Elusive yet persistent
Sweet and inviting
You call out, seeking

Your tenderness I cannot ignore
I listen with intensity,
for your persistence is rhythmically inviting

You call out to me,
wooing me with your song,
pulling me ever closer

Your delight is directed toward me
as it intoxicatingly draws me in. . .
I continue. . .
listening,
watching,
seeking

As you continue. . .
calling,
singing,
loving. . .
me

“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy
Zephaniah 3:17