All is still. The breeze which continued throughout the day has calmed. Not a branch moves. A moon not quite full brightens the night, glowing soft off the remaining snow. Much has melted. Most is gone now, browns and greens again dominating. The air is chill, though not freezing. It is an evening in which one’s own breathing and heart beating are loud. All is calm and settled.
In my soul? I don’t know. This was a day, a day of waiting, of wandering. I wrestled with another over a oddly translated text. Psalm 105:18 reads in most translations, “His feet were bruised with fetters, his neck put in chains.” The Hebrew, yes I retain a little of that knowledge and am again sparked to pick it up again, is quite clearly something else. “the soul of his goes in irons” it reads, without real question over translation. It’s talking about Joseph, the son of Jacob. “They bruised his feet with shackles, his soul put in irons, until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord kept testing him.”
The story of Joseph has always been among my favorite stories in the OT. I’ve always been drawn to him, more than any other character. We read of his being in prison, but read nothing of his time other than he became a leader even there. The Psalmist tells us even his soul was bound, his seat of emotions and passions held down, the Lord becoming an examiner, maybe even a torment (not an unlikely meaning in the OT). Then, in an instant, by powers beyond his influence all changed. From nothing to everything. Because, he held fast, it is assumed.
My soul waits on the Lord, eager to move, not seeing the ripeness or fullness of time. So I ponder things too deep for words, explore realms which many competent theologians say are not approachable. Many others throughout time have said otherwise, and in our era many callings of the Spirit have been lost and ignored by those who over loudly proclaim their own callings as normative.
Again, I think of the image of Christ carrying the cross, my liturgical prayer while watching the scene placing me there. I felt helpless, wanting to help, powerless. I saw nothing I could do but watch and wait. I feel that way now. Living where I do gives me ample opportunity to assist in worthwhile ways, which I do, but I still seek more, practical response to spiritual words. Though, I know, this is the human way, for doing offers more satisfaction than being, waiting, becoming. These latter are more thoroughly worthwhile at times, training for future wars.
Even Christ waited. He was no younger than thirty when he finally felt ready, when his timing had matured. Why do I think I should be better than he? Because others demand my instant action, my immediate proof of worth? The mark of the spiritual life is to retune, letting ones authority and influence be the Spirit alone, not those who deign to speak spiritual words with carnal motives. Too much of the present spiritual community attaches religiosity to aspects which differ none from non-spiritual worlds. The one who finishes the race with the ‘well done’ must first learn to mind only Christ, and care only for his perspective and approval. With this trait one can walk through acclaim and persecution with the same mind, the same peace, for then all that matters is constant and above.
This is what I am learning. Slowly. To act in accord with Christ. To be willing to spend a life in mud, without a moment of productivity, if that is what he wishes, is what I need to be able to not only accept, but rejoice over. That is the secret of being content in all circumstances. Something Paul learned, something I have a long road yet ahead to take as my own. So, I pray for continued peace and wisdom.