Ah! Lord, I would go through fire and water to sit the last at Thy table in Thy kingdom; but dare I say now I KNOW Thee! —But Thou art the Gospel, for Thou art the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and I have found Thee the Gospel. For I found, as I read, that Thy very presence in my thoughts, not as the theologians show Thee, but as Thou showedst Thyself to them who report Thee to us, smoothed the troubled waters of my spirit, so that, even while the storm lasted, I was able to walk upon them to go to Thee. And when those waters became clear, I most rejoiced in their clearness because they mirrored Thy form —because Thou wert there to my vision —the one Ideal, the perfect man, the God perfected as king of men by working out His Godhood in the work of man; revealing that God and man are one; that to serve God, a man must be partaker of the Divine nature; that for a man’s work to be done thoroughly, God must come and do it first Himself; that to help men, He must be what He is —man in God, God in man —visibly before their eyes, or to the hearing of their ears. So much I saw. And therefore, when I was once more in a position to help my fellows, what could I want to give them but that which was the very bread and water of life to me —the Saviour himself? And how was I to do this? —By trying to represent the man in all the simplicity of His life, of His sayings and doings, of His refusals to say or do. —I took the story from the beginning, and told them about the Baby; trying to make the fathers and mothers, and all whose love for children supplied the lack of fatherhood and motherhood, feel that it was a real baby-boy. And I followed the life on and on, trying to show them how He felt, as far as one might dare to touch such sacred things, when He did so and so, or said so and so; and what His relation to His father and mother and brothers and sisters was, and to the different kinds of people who came about Him. And I tried to show them what His sayings meant, as far as I understood them myself, and where I could not understand them I just told them so, and said I hoped for more light by and by to enable me to understand them; telling them that that hope was a sharp goad to my resolution, driving me on to do my duty, because I knew that only as I did my duty would light go up in my heart, making me wise to understand the precious words of my Lord. And I told them that if they would try to do their duty, they would find more understanding from that than from any explanation I could give them.
Anthony shared this passage from George Macdonald today. I had been letting the "Practice" fall by the wayside because I was somewhat at a loss for how to proceed. The book had already told me repeatedly what I needed to do, but I wasn't getting how to do it. This passage gives me at least the next step to consider. When I was a teenager, it was easy to look to Jesus and have peace in the midst of my life's problems, because the really significant problems were out of my hands anyway. It's been a different story now that my problems are my responsibility. Then it feels like I have to worry about them, that I failed in whatever led up to the problem in the first place, that it's interrupting everything else I was supposed to do ... in other words, a major stress-out. My husband advised me just to let it roll off my back like water, but that's not really what I want to do, either. This quote helps me understand, that I must look to Jesus as present, unchanging, and greater than whatever chaos I'm in, trusting that then when He is where He needs to be in my heart, the problem may be rebuked and the waters become clear, my outer life and inner heart both mirroring His perfect form.
Lord, teach me the lesson You began to teach Peter there on the sea, that though You may not stop the storm right away, You walk unhindered through it, and so may I too, if I keep my gaze on You. Teach me how to maintain responsibility without being overwhelmed with the problems, remembering that the purpose is not the calmness itself, but being united with You.