trust, courage, and fear. these three things are often on my mind these days. i admired the courage of my not so little cousin the other week. we were boating on the susquehanna and the two of us took a ride on the big round tube. as we climbed in i told her the signals for faster, (thumbs up) slower, (thumbs down) and stop (pretend you're slicing your throat...haha). i expected a calm little ride.
no sooner had we begun and she stuck her little thumb up in the air, and in the air it remained for the entire ride. she could not get enough speed. a contagious giggle stumbled out of her mouth as we rode over each bump and flew out of our seats.
as i (finally) watched the lord of the rings series with jonah i marveled at the courage it takes to go into battle, especially a battle you are expecting to lose. i thought about death and the fragile state of life. i hate watching battle scenes. i hate knowing that they are not just fiction.
sometimes when i think about my fall semester, my heart trembles. sometimes when i think about hiking around in california for a month with people i hardly know on a knee that is often sore, a fear fills my soul. i wonder if i can do it, i wonder if i'll make it. i wonder if i'll drag the team down. i wonder if i am really cut out for this whole outdoor education thing. i fear i won't be qualified, i fear i won't be equipped with the right gear. i know that this is outside of my comfort zone, i know that alone i cannot do it - and this is partially why i want to do it. but that is also precisely why at times everything in me does not want to do it. i think it's important to take risks and do things that we know we can't do alone. i have a lot to learn when it comes to depending on God, when it comes to trust...
it always comes back to trust.
last week we biked to the park and quickly found ourselves playing the bridge game. (the bridge game is a made up game - it is played on playground equipment. one person closes their eyes and the rest of the players hide somewhere on the equipment. then the person with their eyes closed continues to keep their eyes closed and walks around trying to find those in hiding. the people hiding cannot touch the ground, they must stay on the equipment....think marco polo, minus the call and response, minus the water - plus obstacles and danger. . . (ok maybe don't think marco polo, haha.)) i digress.
of course, they choose me to be the first one it. (as babysitter i cannot complain.) i step carefully and slowly with my arms outstretched. it's crazy how quickly even the most familiar place seems foreign as soon as my eyes close. (is this where the slide is? or the monkey bars? is this the fire pole or am i suddenly on a mountain about to stumble off a cliff? my mind races.) i listen closely for little breaths exiting the chests of children. i strain to hear stifled giggles that give hints to where they are. as i close in on one i can feel both of our hearts racing - mine at the prospect of (finally) opening my eyes, hers at the fear of closing...
often my trust in God looks like that deadly game. i walk slowly and with caution, uncertain that God will tell me what to do next (next summer, in 2 years, even tomorrow...) i strain to hear the voices of others and envy their open-eyed adventures. (instead of training my ear to hear the one voice that knows me best.) God, have mercy. Help me in these busy days to trust in you.
irony that this is one of the hymns that i decided to try to learn this summer? i think not.
...sometimes the journey feels long. sometimes i can almost hear God asking in a low, loving voice: "Do you trust me? Do you trust me still?" and with eyes tightly closed and hands held out, a feeble and broken 'yes' stumbles off my lips.
oh, increase my capacity to trust and to follow!
"He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of
Psalm 25: 9-10