I'm reading, as usual, several books at the moment. I never used to be a multiple-book reader. My reading habits used to be orderly and straightforward: one book at a time. Now, it seems I've always got bookmarks stuck in at least two or three volumes. The interesting thing is seeing how God occasionally uses this split reading personality to bring two thoughts dramatically together in my mind in one of those, "OK, I get it God!" moments. I had one of those tonight.
As part of my ongoing research and general interest, I'm reading a book by Christian counselor H. Norman Wright, called A Dad-shaped Hole In My Heart. It's a great book, particularly if you're the type who likes to sort through your thoughts and feelings by writing them out (I'm actually not), as the author includes exercises throughout to help the reader process deep emotion. One of his chapters deals specifically with girls who have missed out on a relationship with their fathers due to divorce. In this chapter, he lists a number of common issues, most of which I identified with. One that struck me, because of several situations in my life right now, was the inability to make decisions or take risks. Rooted in fear, this tendency can paralyze a child of divorce and keep her mired in mediocrity or misery when she could be experiencing joy and freedom.
Then tonight, as I read Luci Shaw's The Crime of Living Cautiously, I came across this quote: "As 1 John 4 reminds us, 'Perfect love casts out fear.' Who in this terrible, beautiful world can attain to or experience perfect love--the depth of love that banishes fear? Or an absolute confidence that God is with us and that our welfare is best left entirely in his hands? Faith and love, perfect or imperfect, are intangibles--we experience them but cannot quite put our finger on or define them; they seem to escape us. Such spiritual qualities are, by definition, 'unseen.' we move in their direction, hopeful, believing, but seldom achieving with absolute clarity."
I love that last sentence and the hope and freedom that it promises. We can move in the direction of faith and love that trust perfectly, and we can cut ourselves some slack, knowing that we won't get there in a straight line. It will sometimes be a zig-zag journey and sometimes one-step-forward-two-steps-back and then sometimes a full on sprint before we stop, gasping for air and clutching our sides to rest and wonder at the audacity of such trust.