Do you trust that God loves you?
This question was the beginning of an awakening. Initially, I did not recognize Mr. Trust nor was I fully aware of the distinction between him and Mrs. Faith. Up until this point, I figured I had made it just fine with Faith. I didn’t need a Mr. Anything! Then I realized I was taking the Mrs. for granted, using her to stay safe where I was, keeping her from stretching her full reach. As Adam needs a helper, my Missus needed a Mister. I could feel the spirit of the Lord wanting to take me further, deeper, but I wasn’t brave enough to ask for such an encounter. Instead I prayed the Lord would search me and show me what I needed to be closer to Him.
He answered in a flash. Flashes are visions that appear in that grey area where I am not fully awake, but not yet asleep. In this flash I saw people crossing a deep, black chasm. The distance wasn’t far, no more than twenty feet. I was looking from above, watching them cross the darkness—but there was no bridge. It was there, for they were walking on something, but it was invisible. I watched as they all crossed successfully. Then it was my turn. I came down from above and into my body. I took steps towards the cliff, then a few feet onto the bridge I could not see. Then I did what everybody knows they should not do but do anyway out of instinct: I looked down. There was nothing under me, just the empty black hole beneath my feet. In my panic I heard the Spirit: “That’s your problem. You don’t trust me.” I opened my eyes, fully awake, knowing the truth had been revealed.
Rather than simply accepting the truth, I had to push the issue. I prayed, “Help me trust in you.” Now I understand what “Pray wisely” means. I should have known better. When I prayed “Let my faith increase,” the Lord sent me trials to test and strengthen Faith. Praying for Trust could only lead to trouble that requires dancing with the man himself. This first dance started clumsy, like waltzing backwards in broken stilettos. If I had only known my prayer was in the process of being answered, I would have gone barefoot and run with it. As it was, I thought I was being punished.
I had fallen into disobedience, refusing to do what God had asked of me: stop drinking. After my grandfather died, I had a hard time working through the loss on my own. The day of his death I drank two rum and cokes as fast as I could. Later that night, I finished a bottle of wine. Several weeks later, I was back into the routine: a glass after work, another while cooking, and two more by bedtime. One day, I was bored. I sat down at the computer but could think of nothing to write. Staring out the window, my mind idle, I decided to simply relax all day with a bottle of wine. As I was stepping out the door, I heard the Spirit: “Don’t do this.” I did it anyway. That night my daughter called, “Mom, your car died.”
She had come home to visit during her spring break. It was the last night before she had to return back to school on the west coast. She wanted to hang out with her friends so I let her use my car. I was half asleep when the phone rang. “I don’t know what happened, I heard this noise and then everything just locked up.” She explained quickly, trying to assure me that she was not responsible for the breakdown. “I added some oil, but it still wouldn’t start. Some guys helped me move the car, and that’s when we saw the oil trail in the road.” Then she put her friend’s father on the phone. “You don’t have an oil filter,” he said. “But I just had my oil changed last month,” I responded. “Well, they must not have put it on all the way because there’s no oil filter now.” “So, the engine is dead.” He didn’t want to kill all hope but I could hear the truth as he stuttered, “Well, now it is, yes. I think. Maybe. I don’t know for sure because I can’t see, but … there’s no oil filter. It’s… ”
My penance had come; I had not prepared to pay so soon. I began totaling the cost: towing, engine, labor … The spirit of worry skipped into my bedroom, jumped on my bed and sang her mocking song, “Here I come to save the day!” After my daughter’s safe return home, I lie in bed and let the spirit of blame chastise me. “You brought this on yourself. You’re so stubborn. Weak.” I remembered the biblical verses I the Lord revealed to me during my last two trips off the wagon. In January, I read “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice …” (1 Samuel 15:22). I obeyed for a time, until my divorce in March, after which I headed straight for happy hour at Ballyhoo’s. A few drinking days later, I read, “Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:29-32) God was speaking to me, warning me as gently as he could. But I wouldn’t listen. Instead of building of a protective hedge around my sweet Faith, I dug a wine-filled moat in which I was drowning. I imagine Mrs. Faith reached for me, but I’d gone under.
(Part 1) | Part 2
Do you trust that God loves you?