I have been thinking about a insightful comment by Richard Rohr, when he describes the spiritual journey as “God coming to us disguised as our life.” What does he mean? It simply means that we have an openness of mind and heart to see God in our daily life. David Benner points it this way, “It is responding to life with a ‘YES’ of acceptance and gratitude and then living with the inner stillness and presence that is part of being a good host to the Spirit of God who dwells within.” For us men, faith can very easily become a mental activity of belief, rather than that of trust, which entails an open heart. Control rather then surrender is our preference. While belief in solid doctrine is vital for a proper framework for our journey, belief can easily keep us in our heads.
On the other hand, trust demands much more from us then cognitive assent to propositions. Trust is evidenced in a whole hearted openness to God in our everyday life. Benner describes this openness as “leaning into God with trust”. This leaning into God will prompt us to leave the safe, familiar surroundings that we have constructed for ourselves. These are our attempts to carve out a secure place to stand. The trouble is that the foundations are sinking sand. Trust calls us to move beyond the safety of the familiar. Trust means a willingness to let go and follow. Hebrews 11:8 tells us of Abraham, “By and act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents” (The Message).
A trust that leans into God, no matter what the circumstances are, is not for faint of heart or the man who tends to compromise. Real transformation, the making of a man from the inside out, simply will not happen unless a man lets go. Like Abraham you will not know where you are going. Jesus tells us that we must lose our life before we can truly find it. We would rather have our leading foot be on something solid before we risk stepping forward with the other. We would rather not risk the leap, as it were, and feel the fear of a free fall. But it is only in the falling that our heart comes to know that we are held in love. Only then will we begin to see that all that comes to us on our journey is from God. He comes to us disguised as our life.
Again, I believe I am writing to men who are in the second half of life. You have built your own secure, safe place. But it is cramped, closed and lacking in freedom. You are getting tired of trying to keep up the same old projects of “self management.” My greatest concern is that there are men reading this blog that have gone into “a coasting mode” in their spiritual life, having tried all the “religious” stuff. Men, there is a better way. Transformation is not for the faint-hearted. When a man begins to listen to the inner prompting of his soul, he is being awakened. If that is happening to you, don’t put on the cap of control and reason. Trust that God is bringing change that you have no control in implamenting. As you continue on the journey you will experience a joy and freedom that only comes from the Spirit of God, who is creating a deeper and wider inner space to experience his presence. You will have eyes to see that God comes to you in all the events of your life. Nothing is wasted – everything belongs. You might not like falling. But in your falling, you are falling “upward” into the life that God has planned for you.