A former member of the Community of St Anselm, Hannah Bailey-Evans, now a parish intern at the Poplar Team Ministry in London, reflects on God’s forgiving nature.
“You didn’t trust me.”
Gently spoken, still scorching to hear. The words of a Father to his daughter, in response to the question “how have things ended up like this?”
It’s something she’s asked a few times lately. This is the first time he’s answered quite so plainly.
“You made the wrong decision, because you didn’t trust me.”
Not a judgement; simply an explanation. We’re lucky, really, that God is so patient.
The amount of tidying up after us he has to do is incredible. We are precious, but messy, creatures. And we don’t outgrow it. No matter how deep into our journey of faith we are, we don’t outgrow our ability to really get it wrong and end up in a pickle.
But God, thank goodness, isn’t like us. God doesn’t play games. God doesn’t tease us. God doesn’t send us down long and winding roads just for the sake of breaking in our shoes. The shoes he provides for us fit perfectly – we just don’t always want to wear them.
Sometimes it’s because we really wanted those sparkly stilettos, and instead he’s provided us with something not quite as shiny and sophisticated. Sometimes it’s because we really want sandals we can quickly slide our feet into and go, and instead he provides us with heavy boots that take seemingly forever to lace up.
You can wrestle with those shoes you know don’t fit for the rest of your life. Or you can choose to hand them over in return for something better.
The good news in all of this is that God is really, really awesome. He’s awesome. He’s awesome at turning mess into message. He’s awesome at creating wonder out of waiting. He’s awesome at forgiveness. He’s awesome at reining us in. He’s awesome at loving us anyway.
And being a child of his is awesome; because no matter how much of a mess we’ve made, at any time and in any place we can lift up our hands and hearts and say:
“I know I didn’t trust you, but I do now.”
Maybe it won’t always be as simple as that. Maybe you’ll make mistakes again. Maybe you won’t always trust and revere him as you should. Maybe you won’t love other people as he wants you to. Maybe you won’t respect yourself the way he calls you to.
And do you know what he’ll do?
He’ll keep on loving you anyway.
- Hannah Bailey-Evans can be found on Twitter at @hannahbaev.
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), March 11, 2019