DayBreaks for 12/15/11 – Trusting God in the Nowhere, Trust #12
From the DayBreaks Archive, dated 11/26/2001:
An Irishman, Fionn MacCumhaill, once asked his followers this question: “What’s the finest music in the world?”
“The cuckoo calling from the tree that is highest in the hedge,” cried his merry son.
“A good sound,” said Fionn. “And Oscar,” he asked, “what is to your mind the finest of music?
“The top of music is the ring of a spear on a shield,” cried the stout lad.
“It is a good sound,” said Fionn.
“And the other champions told their delight: the belling of a stag across the water, the baying of a tuneful pack heard in the distance, the song of a lark, the laughter of a gleeful girl, or the whisper of a loved one.
“They are good sounds all,” said Fionn.
“Tell us, chief,” one ventured, “what do you think?
“The music of what is happening,” said the great Fionn, “that is the finest music in the world.”
Brennan Manning had this to say in Ruthless Trust: “The music of what IS happening can be heard only in the present moment, right NOW, right HERE. Now/here spells nowhere. To be fully present to whoever or whatever is immediately before us is to pitch a tent in the wilderness of Nowhere. It is an act of radical trust, trust that God can be encountered at no other time and in no other place than the present moment. Being fully present in the now is perhaps the premier skill of the spiritual life.”
What does he mean, and what does this have to do with trust? I think he means that we don’t have yesterday any more – that’s gone and done with. We don’t have any kind of promise of tomorrow. We have only this day – this moment – and for the rest of life as well as for this fragile moment – we have to trust in Someone bigger and greater than ourselves.
Now/here can be a boring place, yet we often think we are fully engaged in life. I think we’re wrong most of the time. We aren’t often engaged with life at all. If we were, how could we possibly be bored? Hasn’t God himself promised to always be with us? And if that is true, and if we are aware of His presence fully in the Now/here, how could we possibly find life boring?
But is this biblical? I believe it is. As Brennan Manning also wrote: “There is only now. Thus Jesus counsels, “Do not worry about your life, what you WILL eat or what you WILL drink or about your body, what you WILL wear” (Matt. 6:25). Instead, Jesus says, “Look at the birds…look at the flowers…” (vs. 26). After instructing us not to have a hissy fit about what may or may not happen tomorrow, he adds a bit of dark humor: “Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (vs. 34)
As Manning suggests, one of the benefits of living in the Now/here is freedom of concern about our spiritual condition, the endless self-analysis of our past failings and faults, feelings of guilt and worry about the future.
It isn’t coincidental that Jesus’ counsels us to not worry about life, but to look at the birds and flowers. Why is that “good medicine”? Because we don’t live lives in the Now/here. We are too wrapped up in the Sometime/there. When Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem, he was the only one who heard the truth that the rocks and stones would cry out for his coming. If David hadn’t been fully living in the Now/here, would he have written his psalms in all their richness and diversity? When told to be on the lookout for God, Elijah learned that God wasn’t in the shrieking windstorm, the fire, or even in the earthquake that shook the cave in which he was hiding. No, he was in the still, small whisper. If he had not been living in the Now/here, he would have missed God’s voice. It was because he lived in the Now/here that Jesus was moved with compassion on the masses, that he sensed the touch of the bleeding woman and that “he noticed” the two mites of the widow as they were given to God’s glory and His purposes. Jesus noticed those things because he lived fully in the present. How could he do that? He trusted God not only with the future, but with the present.
Go outside sometime today and do yourself a huge favor. Instead of thinking about where you are going later, or what you have to do when you go back inside, just live. Don’t walk. Just stand still, live – and notice what is happening in the Now/here. Notice the song of the birds as they lift their voices in praise to their Maker – and as they trust Him for their food, shelter and water. Feel the gentle breeze on your skin as God caresses you with this lovely reminder of His love. Can you feel the warmth of the sun as it kisses your face? Let it be a reminder of God’s kiss of love for you – His child. Notice the colors of the world that surround you – the endlessly rich shades of glorious color – and see in it the manifold blessings of the God who delights to delight you – and who delights in you! Let all these things – and everything else you notice – remind you that you can trust Him, for He loves you and has made these things for you and given you the ability in the Now/here to see and enjoy them.
PRAYER: Let us live in the Now/here, this glorious moment filled with Your presence!!!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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