Sometimes you dial up voicemail and find yet another bad news message, with no idea how to move forward into good news.
Sometimes you try to gift someone, to bless someone, and your gift melts in the rain, dissolves into the night.
I’ve been in that place a lot lately. And somehow, I believe it’s exactly where God wants me to be.
I used to think the life of faith was triumph, a blaze of glory. I dreamed of doing Something Big for God. But the truth is, I just wanted to do Something Big, just wanted glory for myself. I’m learning again how little I can do, how empty are my supposed accomplishments.
My mom’s move, in which I was instrumental and which I thought would be such a good thing for her, has turned out to be a nightmare for everyone involved. Some of the dearest people in the world to me feel stuck and burdened in ways I can’t fix. The demons of mental illness and addiction prey on my loved ones, stealing whatever they can, and I can’t be bodyguard against it.
But God invites me every day, again, to offer my best with a smile and as open a heart as I can muster. To hold on, to ask for help. To realize that the fact that I can’t do much is meaningless, because my life is not what I do – it’s who I am.
Moses said to God, “Who are you?”
God’s beloved people were treated to signs of love: the escape from Egypt, a fiery cloud to lead them, even a suffering servant who would give everything to save them. And God claims those things, saying, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt.”
But the deepest nature of God is this riddle: “I AM WHO I AM.” Even when God seems not to be doing anything, not empowering us to do anything, God’s spirit is with us, transforming us in ways we can’t understand. We are the bush that is not burned up through all this fire – and why? Because God is with us in the fire.
And being together – my being and God’s being – is the most precious thing of all, something that can’t be burned up in fire. My best good deeds will pass away, maybe sooner than I think, but even so, the most precious thing of all is mine to keep.