Friday, June 10, 2011

Calling and Connecting

There comes a time in each of our lives, I believe, when our very being leans toward God.  All of nature, the arts, and, of course, relationships urge us His way.  Something in us awakens to a longing for Him.
We do not always realize it, but it is there.  It is there because He has placed the longing for Him deeply within our souls.  His love calls to that desire.
We may run and rail; we can fight the pull and even resist, if we are that determined, but it will be to our loss.
It is God drawing and calling us to Himself, not something that originated from our own will.

There is an old poem entitled, "The Hound of Heaven," by Francis Thompson.  It speaks of one who was pursued by God and finally overtaken.  The poet expresses gratitude and relief in having been "caught."

I have completed reading the book, "Called Out of Darkness," by Anne Rice.  A dearly loved friend loaned it to me because she had thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted to share it with me.

It has been shared here before that I do not do well with books urged on me by others.
The book was not something that drew me in and to be truthful I often skimmed the pages.  The author used quite a few chapters to describe, in great detail, her childhood experiences, particularly how they related to the church.  She is Roman Catholic.

In adulthood she walked away from the church and God.
In the final chapters of the book she relates her return to both.  For her they are part and parcel.
Anne Rice relates her experience to the above mentioned poem.  She found herself becoming aware of God and feeling called to Him through all that surrounded her.

In one of the final chapters she put into words an honest, wholehearted response that wiped away her previous defense in resisting God.
"In the moment of surrender, I let go of all the theological or social questions which had kept me from Him for countless years.  I simply let them go.  There was the sense, profound and wordless, that if He knew everything I did not have to know everything, and that, in seeking to know everything, I'd been, all of my life, missing the entire point."
There is more, but I encourage you to find the book and read it for yourself.  The last seventy pages were worth the time it took me to get there.

This morning's devotional thought by David Jeremiah ran along the same line of thought.  He spoke of how once we learn to ride a bicycle we will never need to relearn it.  This idea was connected with our faith in God.
"Once we've come into His powerful and loving Presence, we'll never struggle to trust Him again.  Anymore than we'll have to take a refresher course in bike riding."
What freedom comes from knowing and walking with Him!

Some of the readers of this blog are unknown to me.  Some are friends of friends.
Judy is one of these people.  As I spoke with our mutual friend today I felt prompted by Papa that there is some connection for Judy here.  Maybe in the book....  Maybe in the fact that Papa is calling to her in her heartache and sorrow....
I will be praying.

Another point in the book spoke to me. 
Ms. Rice spoke of the importance of the church as the keeper of the truth, as the place that the deep, rich traditions are protected and kept alive.
I am not a big fan of the church per Se.  Yet I am.
She put into words what I knew, but had never put into coherent thought.
Though I most love a small group where we all can share and do some serious worship together, I do appreciate the church as the visible evidence of His enduring truth.  When I join a larger group in a church building there is the sense of being part of something much bigger than I even know.   It takes in all places in all times.
Her words reminded me of that truth.

It is a joy to be moved to remember who my God is and that He is always at work.
One of the things that delighted me as I listened to Dickens' "Oliver Twist" was the author's faith that shown through the story.  Dickens had a great sense of justice and of the need for mercy.  It is evident that he was confident that his God was One of both justice and mercy.
The man was a great writer and I hated to find the book at its end.  As I listened to the words of the writer I got a sense of being connected to him.  A connection through the living God. 
Dickens lived in a different, earlier time, but he, too, looked to the same God.
One man; one universal church; one Amazing God!

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