I did something on Sunday which shames me to share, but since I did it, there must an admitting of it. At the end of our contemplative retreat, each person took turns sharing what was uppermost in his or her mind, particularly in connection with experiences, thoughts, and emotions emanating from the retreat itself. Personally, I felt quite blessed that I was able to be there. There was some doubt about that initially. (See post, Spoiled.) I needed that extra time with God to reach quietude about a pending work assignment.
During the retreat, I thought a lot about that assignment. It is considered dangerous, more than just moderately so, and considerably higher than simply risky. (We actually have a rating scale for our more unusual assignments if you can believe that!) I am having to acquire a new skill, which will be the only protection I have; it is coming far more rapidly than it should. That leads me to believe that God either wants me to follow through on this assignment or is giving me an unusual ability to acquire this skill in order to protect me. (In my better moments, I am fully confident that He will indeed protect me and I have no fear; in my weaker moments, I do have fear. I know that this does not come from God, but I have it anyway.)
It is troubling that the assignment comes from my higher ups (beyond my immediate supervisor) and that I, in essence, volunteered for it but don't know what God's will might be in the matter. I usually have a good sense of that. God spoils me that way. This time I do not, and I do not know how to handle it, except to keep going in the direction and I am going, assuming that God will steer me where He wants me to go. I have asked Him to close the door if He does not want me to do this. I have also asked Him to close all others and open wide this door if it is the one He wants me to walk through. God is good with using those doors to push me in the right direction. (See post, The Jobs God Would Not Let Me Have, And The One He Made Me Take And Keep.)
At the end of the retreat, then, as we were sharing with each other, I told the group something about my new, hopefully one-time, assignment (which I am reluctant to describe here because the Internet is a very open place -- I will give details when done), described my worry that God just might want me to do the most dangerous part of it and how I just might not want to follow His will in this (but, of course, I will). I asked for their prayers.
How selfish! There are four other groups involved in this assignment, not just me. There will be one colleague at each juncture (a different one), another group of colleagues, a group of uninvolved people who could be innocently hurt but probably won't be, and a group opposed known for their violence. We will all be together in one location. I will be involved only for three weeks; my colleagues will be involved for a year. I, however, am the only one who will have no protection except for the grace of God. (Oh, wait a minute; there is no better protection!) The shameful part of my sharing on Sunday is that I did not ask for prayers for all those others, including the "enemies." I, who have lived in the lands of enemies literally off and on for 25 years, forgot to ask for prayers for my enemies! And for my colleagues/friends/acquaintances!
How small and mean is man, even that man who loves and tries to serve the Lord! No matter how we try, in a crisis those of us who are merely ordinary people still put our own needs first. May God have mercy on us -- and on our enemies!
I have since reconciled this weakness of mine with God, at least for now, for surely I will sin again. I have asked God to convert every prayer He receives on my behalf to two prayers each for my colleagues and enemies. Would you pray for them? As for me, God will take care of me even without the asking. God always does.
Julian of Norwich’s Timeless Message
1 week ago