Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sacred Compass: Getting Lost and Getting Surprised

(I started to title this post "Losses and surprises," then realized that losses can be quite different from getting lost.)

Near the end of Sacred Compass, Brent has two chapters on what we might call the darker side of leadings. In the chapter "The Dark Path," he discusses what happens when we feel lost and alone, with no idea where our spiritual compass wants us to head.

This is not necessarily bad, Brent says, and certainly not unsual. A period of seeming "lostness" can be part of the journey. It can grab our attention and cause us to scrutinize our lives more closely. It also can be the result of living in a fallen world, where many terrible things happen that are outside of our control. A sense of being lost also can lead us back to God and hope in his provision.

We can also be surprised when our leadings take us into unexpected places, as Brent describes the chapter "West of Eden." These surprises, Brent says, can tranform us and help us learn to trust more fully in God. Mary, for example, was surprised when an angel told her she was to bear God's child. That was not her expectation at all. But she trusted and was transformed.

All of this underscores that when we follow leadings, we are ceding control of our lives to God. We are not leading. God is leading. That means we open ourselves to hardships we might have avoided but also to blessings we might not have imagined. I know that in my life, there have been moments when, although I heard an inner voice saying, be patient, wait, hold steady, don't act, I've felt that no, I can't wait, I need help now, I have to take matters into my own hands, now is the moment to panick. That's always been a mistake, and I now more faithfully heed the inner guide.

1 comment:

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, Diane. I agree. It is so easy to be moved from that inner leading, and struggle with it. And God can end up giving up peace to do something less, but we lose out in that. I know that firsthand, to be sure. But a good learning point.