Posts Tagged ‘John Michael Talbot’

When God Says No

2015-03-17 13.26.22

Today God said “No.”

For months, I felt him saying “Yes” and to trust and wait for him in regards to a particular job. The more I learned about the job, the more that I felt it was so very right for me. I went into the interview at peace knowing that God’s will will be done. I was pretty confident that this was it. This was the something else that I believed God was preparing for me. I felt surrounded by prayer. From my perspective, the interview went very well. I felt privileged to be able to share stories from the various places I’ve been able to share and to talk about things that I’m passionate about. I went home super excited as I had found out aspects of the job through the interview that excited me even more. I had been researching the area and thinking about the potential for missional work and the many things I could explore. I was told they would make a decision in a few weeks and so once again I had to wait. But this time, I was pretty convinced that this is where God wants me.

And then I got the call. It wasn’t what I expected. None of the candidates were a good match.

Instead of a job offer, God has said “No.”

I don’t really know what this means. Other than God closed the door that I was hoping to walk through in the coming days.

The words of John Michael Talbot’s Be Not Afraid speak to me today as I wrestle with God saying no and wondering where he will lead me.

You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst

You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way

You shall speak your words in foreign lands, and all will understand

You shall see the face of God and live

Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me. And I will give you rest.

If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown

If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed

If you stand before the pow’r of hell and death is at your side, know that

I am with you through it all

Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me. And I will give you rest.

Blessed are the poor for the kingdom will be theirs

Blessed are you weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh

And with wicked tongues insult and hate you all because of me

Blessed, blessed are you.

Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come, follow me. And I will give you rest.

Looking ahead, I don’t really know what things will look like. And truth be told, I am disappointed. I had begun to dream about exciting things that I could be part of. And while those dreams do not need to disappear, they are on hold until God provides a place for me.

I do know this though: the same God who has led me thus far, will continue leading me. As much as I’d love to be involved in something again and need the increased income, God has provided and I do know that he will continue to do so, even if it’s not in the ways that I expect and anticipate.

Foolishness of the Cross

I’ve been (finally) working on my paper on the new monastic community that John Michael Talbot began in the 1970s called The Brothers and Sisters of Charity. It is a really interesting Catholic community that draws upon many traditions such as contemplative and charismatic. It is a community that allows for celibates, singles and married couples and families to join in the monastic tradition. One of the reasons I chose this community was because it has been around for awhile and being in a relatively new monastic community and witnessing and participating in the struggles that come with this newness, I was eager to learn and be encouraged by a community that has grappled with many of the issues we are tackling and have come through to the other side.

As I’ve been writing and reflecting on their Rule and Rhythm of Life, I’ve been noticing how humility plays into so much of their way of life. Their lives are lived in common – common purse, common decisions, each member serving the community – so that no one can boast.

Lately I have been struggling with being humble – with finding a healthy balance between assured of who I am in Christ and being proud. I think it is really easy in community to start to think of all the ways *I* have contributed and to think of myself more highly than I ought. It is easy to compare myself with others and justify myself by thinking I contribute more than what others do. It is easy to get frustrated when my efforts aren’t noticed, aren’t praised and at times are not even welcome.

And then there’s Bob. I’ve talked about Bob before – for those who haven’t met him, he lives on the margins of society. Many churches and many people struggle to relate to him because, as he says, he is different. As I sit here writing, he is hard at work preparing paper cut out decorations for members of our community who are getting married next month. He comes in to our house and quietly takes out the trash and the compost, often without any of us noticing. He looks out for household items that we might need. In the fall, he raked the leaves. and then he quietly leaves our house. He then goes on to another church to do “random acts of violence” there… I should say that he has a wonderful sense of humour and often you need to take what he says and hear the opposite… he really means “random acts of love”. He doesn’t ask for praise, he doesn’t boast of his works. He just serves.

I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians this week. And these verses stood out to me: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1:27-28).

This is the foolishness of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18) – that God chose those whom the world has rejected to bring about his kingdom. I am so thankful for people like Bob in my life for showing me what true humility looks like in community.