“Human beings want to feel that they are on a power walk into the future, when in fact we are always just tapping our canes on the pavement in the fog. A dose of humility would do us good in the present moment. It might also help reconcile us to the radical uncertainty in which we are always living.” I am quoting Mark Lilla, professor of humanities at Columbia University, from his New York Times op-ed column last Friday. He ends with this: “tap and step, tap and step, tap and step…”
As our country, state by state, begins to open up and we “tap and step” into the unknown future, can we set aside our anxiety about this present moment and the about the future and just let God reveal it to us moment by moment, day by day? No one know what is to come, only God. Can we trust ourselves completely to His hands? Can we walk ahead with the only certainty that is possible in this or any moment—that God walks with us through it all? Can we read the Bible looking for stories of how God helped people cope with whatever happened to them—Joseph, David, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, to name a few from the Old Testament and all the people Jesus helped and healed and Paul in the New Testament—and be reassured by how God helped them?
Can we truly, really trust in God? Our human minds will feel anxious, but will we then let the anxiety go and let God rule this period of our lives and bring us to where He would have us go and be. Along this journey of tapping and stepping, will we be on the lookout for those we can help, for those we can comfort, for those who are hungry and lost? This, to me, seems like the moment when all the resources and peace and faith that God has given us are also what we are to share. For the great lesson of the coronavirus is that we are all—all the human race across the world— in this together. There is no difference among us; we are all vulnerable to the virus, some more in danger from it than others, but in this moment we are down to the bottom line—we are all vulnerable to this illness. How often have we experienced something like this in our lifetimes in which all humanity is susceptible to a common danger?
Going forward, tapping and stepping, is going to take all the trust in God that we can muster, because there are no experts who can predict exactly what will happen. Oh, they can exclaim and talk assuredly, but it’s all hot air any way. No one knows. Taking one step at a time and listening for God’s direction of what to do and where to look and what to say will bring us to the outcome that He desires for each of us. It will take that kind of deep listening to assuage the omnipresent fears and doubts that assail us. In fact, it is only as we listen in peace that we can really hear God’s Indwelling Spirit speak to us.
Tapping and stepping, cautiously at first until we gain our footing in this new reality, letting God lead us through the uncertainty, going head-long into whatever this future has for each of us, we can step hand-in-hand with God through it all. And after a few days or weeks or months, when we can see the reality that is to come, may we allow God to lead us still, may we totally trust in His providence and guidance and care for us through one of the most difficult periods in our lives.
Questions to ponder over the week: How trusting am I of God? Do I have to try to control my future? Am I good at tapping and stepping or is this a new skill I need to acquire? Who is God to me anyway? How would I describe my relationship to God?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who trust Him implicitly. May we be filled with His love and peace.
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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 5.11.20s is entitled, “God in my mind.”
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