This is so good. If you are looking for a great read, here it is: Clinging
One of the worst looking covers I have ever seen, but an incredible book. Here's a taste:
For each of us the way lies straight
ahead. There is, immediately in front of
us, an assigned task, a call: some difficult, clear, utterly simple thing the
Lord is asking us to do. It is not a
general admonition to whoever might happen to be standing about. It is instead an utterly private request
whispered, as it were, into each one’s ear.
What the Lord is asking me, He is asking no one else. More than likely, it is a request with no
particular glamour or notoriety attached to it.
And if I pay attention, the Lord leaves me in no doubt about it. Especially if I ask in prayer, He tells me
very clearly. (Which is why, sometimes, I don’t hurry to find out.)
And I cannot accomplish this
thing God asks without grace. The call,
this request is completely beyond my grasp, quite impossible—without His help. Yet even as He asks it, He makes it clear
that His grace will be poured out. He
will not leave me abandoned or alone. He
does not ask the impossible. Our God
does not play tricks. Or, to put it
another way, when He asks the impossible, we remember that nothing is
impossible with God.
But why are we surprised by
this? We knew from the beginning that
prayer would bring us closer to the mind of God, more able to know His thoughts
and do His will. We knew that, yet when
by a kind of radar we sense it, when we feel ourselves being moved and led in a
given direction, we feel awe, we are afraid.
Afraid perhaps that we are acting, actors in a drama we did not
design. Somehow the story has been set
in motion and the characters are mainly two: God and I. It is a dance! It is a suspense story. It is leading to an unknown destination. It is once-upon-a-time, and now, and
what-is-yet-to-be, all at once. It is
now and forever, and yet it is not a dream.
It is happening and it is real.
And now there is no turning
back. The commitment has already been
made: The escalator is ascending, the elevator door is closing, the plane is
moving down the runway. Something very
definite has been set in motion, is gathering momentum, is picking up speed. It seems we can hardly stop now, especially
when the journey is starting to get interesting! Even so, we are fearful. Now that the cabin door is closed and the
motors are revving, the shudder and the trembling are perhaps not so
exhilarating as we had thought.
Yet, we have signed on for
this. We are here by our own
consent. Even if there should be pain
interwoven with this commitment, some intimation of suffering to come, there
is, at the very same time, a knowing—we know Who it is that’s asking and this
intimate sense of a God who loves us is present even when He is leading us into
the furnace or the deep. Our God will
not betray us. He is just and fair and
tender. He does not forget us in the
time of trouble, He that keeps Israel does not slumber or sleep.
So we go on, straight ahead,
with no more sense of direction than just to make the next step and the
next. We are not out to make high jumps,
to take the next three steps at a time.
There is no longer much question of spiritual ambition or advancing in
prayer. We have no sense of height. We can’t tell whether or not we are
ascending. If we are climbing (and we
are), we sense that only in our muscles and bones. The climb is costly. But it does not feel upward. It is not high. It is neither consolation nor desolation.
It is ascent, but not
ecstasy. In a sense, it is deeper than
ecstasy, or perhaps one could call it the ecstasy of every day, a union that
continues while everything else is also happening, existing within whatever
activities are necessary, an abandonment known only to us and God, ecstatic
only in that it is so very complete.
This abandonment is the very
heart and essence of Christian prayer, and it has nothing in common with
strategy and second-guessing. It is the
pray-to-win mentality turned inside out, and yet it is not s pray-to-lose
mentality. It is the prayer that has
moved beyond intending, directing, steering, second-guessing God. It is the dancer moving completely in the
rhythm of the partner, prayer that is utterly freeing because it is completely
at one. Utterly beyond asking, beyond
the anger that rattles heaven’s gate. Prayer
that does not plead, wants nothing for itself but what God wants, it is the
will-not-to-will, rooted in grace, that makes it possible to be abandoned,
free, and then (by some further miracle) able to act with a semblance of coherence
and freedom even when completely surrendered to and possessed by the loving
will of God. (Clinging by Emilie Griffin)