Standing on grace as He reigns

A number of years ago I injured my leg so badly that I was not allowed walk outside of normal moving around; so no training, no running, no walking for fitness, no jumping. I think where I got it wrong and caused the injury to linger so that even now a brisk 4km walk causes pain in my right calf is that in my job I walked 10,000 steps every day. My leg had no chance and I couldn’t afford the expensive treatment to make it heal well.

I am stuck with a leg that hurts, I am used to it so the purpose of me writing about it today is not to do a “poor me” act but to give background to what happened next…

I spent my whole life training outside of work, my kids were all involved in athletics, soccer, football and rugby. We spent our lives outside doing stuff, and I was involved in football and various sports clubs around the area from yoga to boxing. We were a fit family. Sean’s hip was coming against him for the first time so we were like a couple of doddery auld ones and we had nothing to do.

All the things that filled my time were gone and there was a void, there was no timetable, no rushing hither and thither fulfilling obligations and the rushes of adrenaline and endorphins. I began life as a sedentary person and looked to my past, to pursuits I had long discarded and began to write again.

Around the same time I began attending local church services, not to fill the void left by no sport but to fill a bigger void that had been present for a long, long time. I scuttled into church and out. I wasn’t part of the clique of church members and just went to soak in God’s presence for an hour of my life. I had no massive theological knowledge, I knew there was a far off God who came and met me for an hour on a Sunday and if he hung around during the week it was in a Orwellian “Big Brother” style of watching me, I didn’t like to think too much about that.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was part of the church membership, I was involved in this and that and then got more and more involved in the “doing” of church. Also during that time I was transformed by the grace of God, and I, myself got more into the “being” of church and “being” of God and having it in the right order. So the doing was in response to the relationship not some superficial otherwise round.

The closer today came the more uncertain I became. My faith is intact, but I have doubts in my ability to let go of the known and step into the unknown. I am preaching on Thomas in a few weeks and I totally get where he was at. He had faith, he knew Jesus, up close and personal but he had doubts. There is a song called “faith on shifting sands” and I used that as a sermon illustration last year. I have tried to think badly of those I will be leaving in Kerry and it has not worked because I love them to bits. I love their warts, their prickly bits, their downright ugly bits and I love their good character traits also. I love the way they welcomed me, knowing nothing about me, I love the assumptions made about my past (my favourite being – were you a prossie?) I love the way they are still doing that with every stranger and oddity (like me) that walks in, I love the way some of them grow in spurts, others more steadily, others barely at all.

Temporarily I am leaving them, but in the long run I could be leaving them altogether so for me, this is a trial. Can I let go of the apron strings? It is not about whether they can let go of me but if I can let go of them. When I injured my leg I had to give up all training and it hurt, the pain of not being part of the football team absolutely cut me in two. The discipline needed to not run, was a tough lesson and the breaking of rule (and I do) causes such immediate excruciating pain that to not follow the discipline is not good.

For me not to continue testing this call, would not be a good decision, for me not to give it my all, would not be a good decision, for me not to embrace whatever and wherever the Lord is planning for me, would not be a good decision. I must move from comfortable to uncomfortable, it is what is needed.

You are my hiding place from every storm of life; you even keep me from getting into trouble! You surround me with songs of victory. I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress. Psalm 32:7-8

Faith vs. Doubt

Doubt sees the obstacles.
Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night.
Faith sees the day.
Doubt dreads to take a step.
Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions “Who believes”?
Faith answers “I”.

William Jett

Faith on Shifting Sands – Caedmon’s Call

Sometimes I believe all the lies
So I can do the things I should despise
And every day I am swayed
By whatever is on my mind

I hear, it all depends on my faith
So I’m feeling precarious
The only problem I have with these mysteries
Is they’re so mysterious

And like a consumer I’ve been thinking
If I could just get a bit more
More than my 15 minutes of faith
Then I’d be secure

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace, stand on grace

I’ve begged you for some proof
For my Thomas eyes to see
Slithering staff, a leprous hand
And lions resting lazily

A glimpse of your back-side glory
And this soaked altar going ablaze
But you know I’ve seen so much
I explained it away

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

Waters rose as my doubts reigned
My sand-castle faith, it slipped away
Found myself standing on your grace
It’d been there all the time

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace, stand on grace