A couple of years ago I was introduced to an idea where, rather than making new year resolutions, I spent time in prayer and waited for a word to come to me. This word would then be something to try to live with or by for the year.
This year the word that the Lord gave me was surrender. Great! I think I’d rather resolve to go to the gym each week.
Too frightened to think much about it, the idea of surrender has been working away in the background of my life. And like so many things it is only on reflection that we see where the Holy Spirit has been gently bringing us to a moment of insight.
That insight came this week, through a painful but (probably) necessary situation.
Proverbs extols me to ‘trust in the Lord and not on my own understanding’. I have been praying and desiring something and then not trusting in the Lord to answer it. I have continually got in the way. And the Lord who never forces His way upon us has waited patiently until I realised that what I thought was trust wasn’t. I was keeping my fingers crossed behind my back. I was giving the Lord a hand. After all the adage says, ‘The Lord helps those who help themselves’. Yet not trusting is painful. Time and time again the Lord waits for me in the pain, willing me to see that it doesn’t have to be this way, because the Trust to which I am being called requires Surrender.
And it is scary!
In the eyes of the world it is foolish, madness, almost inexplicable and totally without reason.
But isn’t that the point? The trust that we are invited to, called to enjoy is out of this world. It is a trust that is unlike anything we know. And that is why it is frightening. I have to let go, to open my hands in order to be able to take hold of what the Lord offers me. It is so big, so wonderful, that I will need both hands to accept it. I am simply not able to hold one hand behind my back, or to hold on to the little bit that I believe suffices because it is better than nothing.
I know that if I want the Lord to be at work in my life, to answer my prayer then I must, as Ignatian Spirituality tells me, be unattached by the outcome. Again I must prayer for His will not mine. What I have been praying for is that God align His will with mine. And trust, I realise requires me to do the opposite.
Of course for me realisation and action are miles apart and I walk a road that I seems to have no end.
I need to be like the Women in this week’s readings. Both gave everything they had, emptied themselves and waited on the Lord to replenish them. And He did. The Gospel story of the Widow’s mite is not simply one about greed or generosity, but of trust. The widow gave all she had, her life. She didn’t try to help, she held nothing back. She trusted that the Lord would not leave her destitute, which in those days was a distinct possibility.
My heart knows that the Lord will provide, that through such trust I will be given more than I can imagine.
So why does my head insist that I keep a little back for a rainy day? That I still keep my fingers crossed behind my back?
- How does it feel to know that the Lord observes you in all that you do this week?
- Where are you tempted to hold back in your relationship with the Lord this week?
- How might you come a little closer to the widow’s way of giving this week?
- How good are you at sharing? When is it difficult?
- Draw 2 coins In one draw something that reminds you of something someone has done for you this week. In the other draw something that reminds you to do something for someone else.
- Talk about generosity – what does it mean to give all you have?
- Why do we find that difficult?
- How might your trust in God grow this week?