Trust even when the crops fail and teraces produce no nurishment

One of the canticles said at Lauds is taken from the third chapter of Habakkuk. It begins so confident , with such surety that God will vindicate and show God’s power.  But then the reality of  the siege of the city sinks in as the author sees beyond immediate circumstance even immediate suffering and hardship.    It doesn’t make much sense.

For the community this past year has been a bit like crops failing, terraces producing no nourishment and flocks disappearing from the fold.  Things have been shrinking.  God hasn’t intervened.  Things haven’t lined up, opportunities have come but slipped away, not because of missed opportunity based in inaction or mistake, but due to bad timing and things beyond our control.

It’s been difficult to know what to do.  So, I’ve just continued on the path before me.  I could step away.  Find something less difficult.  But I’d have to seek it out.  No alternative is presenting itself, there are not other offers.  Without the obvious second path, without the fork in the road, I’ve chosen to stay the course and not veer off the current path in search of a different one.  I’m not sure that is a good or bad thing.

No clear direction.  Just hints. Small affirmations that although difficult and full of uncertainty, that this is what I should be doing.

Trusting even when there is no obvious direction, from God.  Trusting God, and resting in God even when everything seems to be failing and dwindling.   This trust is difficult and appears, even to me, to be  fool hardy.

I relate to this canticle the swing from confidence that God will do some dramatic work and decisive thing to swinging to the other side seeing how helpless things are, and somehow settling in a quite trust in God even in the midst of failure and hardship (I’ve experienced nothing close to the extremes of having no food or threat to life). Somehow I still find God’s presence and movement of the Spirit.  No dramatic alteration of the facts, no miraculous intervention, but God is there, and I’m sustained in relationship to God, and I see God at work even though, I don’t know where we are going to be living in a week and a half.

I don’t get it, yet there is trust in God, there is a sense of God’s provision and sustenance that is beyond circumstance.  There is even joy and rest.  Well…, if I trust in what is beyond my control and my understanding.  So I trust in God even when things don’t seem to be going right, even when God doesn’t intervene on my behalf.  Trust even though the terraces produce no nourishment… though  flocks disappear from the fold…” and nothing seems to be going right.

Further reflection on this theme and the communities struggles, from the standpoint of leading the Community of the Holy Trinity through this difficult time. LEK 7/21/2013

  • Shane Tytenicz

    Larry, this is one of the most apt, real-life descriptions of the spiritual life I’ve ever read. This is it. This is the deal. And it makes absolutely no sense, and yet it’s the most certain thing that there is. Living in the midst of this mystery is one of the most challenging things a person can do–and you’re doing it. Thanks for your example and your honesty.

    • Thank you, Shane.
      It is indeed very challenging, and the challenge is continuing, perhaps even deepening.

  • reflections from Micah Bales related to my reflections here.

  • Pingback: Holy Week, Grief and the Unexpected | Priestly Goth()