"deep enough to reach out
and touch the face of
the One who made me.
and oh, the love I feel.."
Chris Rice's "Deep Enough," is the song reminds me of last summer's ephiphany. But I am getting ahead of myself.
It began early that spring. I knew that I was going to have the privilege of supporting Adventure Unlimited's summer staff during their three weeks of pre-camp training school. I eagerly awaited the email that would announce that year's metaphysical theme. When it came, I felt -- ambivalent. Of course I was familiar with the Scripture from John:
"Cast the net
on the right side
of the ship,
and ye shall find."
I'd read it many times. I'd trusted it, wrestled with it, and I'd pondered its relevancy. But all last spring it left me feeling flat. I didn't like the right vs. wrong -- or even the right vs. left -- connotations. I was uncomfortable with there being a right side at all. It implied a wrong side. And if there was a wrong side, what was it's genesis. Certainly not God. And if not God -- who or what. And if there really was a who or what, didn't that also imply a creator other than God. You see where I'm going -- right?
Now, all this wrestling could have remained very private, except for one small thing. I was supposed to deliver an inspirational talk on the first day of training school centered on that Scriptural theme. Hmmm -- what to do? Of course, pray.
So, in the weeks, and days -- and hours -- before the start of training camp, I was on my knees asking God for inspiration, clarity, a fresh perspective. Because clearly, the one I was harboring wasn't cutting it. And I couldn't fake it. It would be impossible for me to speak about this Scripture - in a winning way - if I wasn't inspired myself.
Driving up the camp road that morning, I had nothing. Really -- nothing. I was driving with my heart in my throat -- and figuratively, on my knees. "Dear God," I thought, "please help." It was that simple. Please help. And it was like the clouds parted within my heart, and I was flooded with this simple message. "What if the way you are looking at this question, 'what is the 'right side?' -- is just another a version of 'lo, here, or lo, there?" What if it has nothing to do with right or left, right or wrong, here or there, this or that. What if the spiritual "side" is the inside -- vs. the outside.
In less time than it took me to finish my drive from the "Y" in the road, to Round Up -- less than two minutes at 20 miles per hour. The entire message was written on my heart. God had been preparing it - in me - for years. It was His love that had helped me see -- even as a little girl -- that "the gospel of the kingdom," was the the good news of Jesus' message about the kingdom, as it is recorded in Luke. In this account, he is demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, and he replies:
"the kingdom of God
cometh not with observation:
neither shall the say,
lo here! or, lo there!
the kingdom of God,
is within you."
Even as a child this brought me such a sense of spiritual comfort and authority in navigating my own life. I didn't need to find the right role model, the right book, the right teacher, the right school. Whatever I needed to know, I would ultimately find within.
Every answer I was seeking, the divine nudge I longed to feel, every comforting, healing, transforming thought comes from within. This is where God reigns. This is where God hold court and gives counsel.
The books I read, the conversations I have, the inspirations that are shared with me -- they all point within. They guide me to that place of deeper oneness with divine Love. They encourage me to nurture a deeper sense of trust in the I AM that is always found within. This trust is all that I will have eternally. And this trust is the evidence of my wholeness -- my health.
For me, this "inside" is the side -- the only side -- where I need to cast my questions, cares, and concerns. This is where I will find all that I am searching, longing, yearning for. This is the place of deep stillness where I hear the voice of the only One who can truly affirm the All-in-allness of Truth, the eternality of Life, the infinitude of Love -- His Love.
From that moment on, this Scripture became my touchstone all summer. In fact, it still is. When I am casting about for direction, answers, comfort, inspiration -- I am reminded to turn to the kingdom within. This is where I will find the eternal, the enduring, the infinite. This is the place I can never leave, the kingdom where I will always be welcome.
Here, within this kingdom, dwells a Sovereign who is tireless in His love for me, and mine, and all. This is where I can touch the face of the One who made me for the sheer purpose of loving and trusting Him.
May you cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you...
offered with Love,
[photo credit: Ian Forber-Pratt]