Over the last few Sundays, Pastor Michael has been doing a series of sermons about the names of God. Interesting, to say the least, these names have brought just that much more about God's amazing love and grace into perspective for me. This past Sunday, Ashley Jennings did the sermon, and talked about the name Immanuel. Love that Ashley, you did such an awesome job of reminding us that God is with us.
My favorite of these sermons was a couple weeks ago. We had each received a blank name tag before the serivce began and when Pastor Michael was finished, he asked us to take a few moments to reflect on who God is to us, given the meaning of each of the names we had learned. We then had the opportunity to write that on the name tag and place it on the altar.
As I was having my God Time this morning, I was looking out the window and watching the wind as it tossed tree branches into the air, and then, letting loose, the branches would plunge back down, the force of the fall dropping them low to the ground before another gust would come and throw them back up. Contemplating the names I wrote down on that tag, I realized that we each see and feel a different side of God. For me, God is my provider, my strength, redeemer and my fortress, a safe harbour in a storm.
Watching the storm outside I thought of the internal storms of life that we all face, like tree branches in the storm, we are often tossed into the air into the midst of difficult and trying times. If we cling and hold on too tight, loosing our faith and trust in God, we come crashing to the ground unable to hold on in the terrifying storm, broken fragments of our better selves. As frightening as those stormy trials of our lives are, it is only when we trust in God that we bend and move with the wind as it tosses us about, and rather than crashing to the ground, we move and flow with the wind, and God's Grace blesses us.
In the last few months, I have learned that in turning my trials over to God and trusting in Him to do His Will, my life has been so much more peaceful. The stormy winds and tides have been calmer. It doesn't mean that I don't still have sorrows, or sometimes question God; it certainly doesn't mean that I don't sometimes try to take the ship to steer it through the rolling waters myself, it just means that I have found more peace in trusting God, than I have in myself. I think the more that we bend and move with God the more peace and love we find in our lives.
Mark Nepo wrote:
I envy the tree
how it reaches
but never holds.
I like that. I think I shall try to be more the tree that bends, and allows God to do His will.