Saturday, October 04, 2014

A Disquiet Follows My Soul

First off... this is not a Battlestar Galactica related post at all.  I simply used the title of one of the episodes because the phrase has been running through my head a lot of late.

Secondly I have been silent for far too long. This place has gathered dust while I have been distracted... and this seems to be a habitual tendency, one that I should really get out of.

It's a funny thing but I have made a point of waiting upon God for direction as to whether I should embark upon a certain course of action, on the understanding that should I not get a definitive response before a set point in time, I would resolve to move on it myself in an act of blind faith and blind faith alone.  Yet as that time nears I find myself both disturbed and moved on the subject. I see the world moving to spur others on and yet find silly things get it my own way. You want to take the opportunity to talk to the vicar and elderly ladies gravitate in and do the "lovely service vicar" small talk routine and totally block access... that sort of thing.

At the same time it feels like various images and songs that have spoken to me... come to the fore... and my Bible notes are talking about being more focused.

There's a great sense of pressure building within me... but I am coming to understand that it is not negative, it is like the tension in the bowstring before the arrow is launched, or the stirring of champagne working against the resistance of the cork that holds it captive within the bottle.

I have always struggled with human impedance - the sense that people deliberately or unwittingly sometimes work against you because their own interests clash with your own. Yet as I type that sentence I am reminded of Christ's words to St. Peter at the end of John's gospel. Jesus has just given Peter an indication of the kind of life his ministry will end in, and yet Peter finds himself distracted and asking what the fate of John will be.

At the heart of Jesus' response is a question and a statement: "What is that to you? You must follow me.”

So back to this idea of disquiet... what does the Bible have to say about this word? Well in a few translations, the term comes up in a couple of Psalms:
"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance."
Psalm 42:5
It is easy to look at our frustration as a negative, to assume we aren't going anywhere because resistance is present or because we are held in some kind of suspended animation. However that's making the same mistake as Peter.  Instead we should look towards what God is doing: what God is doing in us; what God is doing to us; what God is doing for us. When the bowstring is drawn, it is no longer in an inert state... potential energy is being built up and will soon result in it being released as kinetic energy, propelling an arrow towards its target.

Likewise when we feel frustration, we don't need to get wound up (an ironic choice of words there), instead we should be prepared to accept that we are being built up with the necessary energy to take us forward to the next phase of our walk with God.

All that potential energy has to go somewhere... and the more it builds up, the more you should take courage that it will one day, strike or move its intended target... perhaps sooner than you think.

Disquieted - is it really such a bad thing?  The NIV translates the word as "disturbed" - the same word that lies at the heart of a prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake. So wherever life finds you I'd like to leave you with the words of his prayer and ask you to contemplate anew what being disturbed means:

Disturb us, Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

Amen


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