Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Voice in the Darkness

Three hours driving carefully into the blackness of the night, the white flecks of snow driving mercilessly at our car, mercifully shod with snow tires only two days before. My eyes strained to follow the path laid out by those ahead of me, my arms steadily gripping the wheel, my heart quietly speaking, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."

Forty seven years before those words had been pasted by loving hands on a white card on a black page by my Granny Kay, her gift to me for my confirmation, my public profession of faith within my denomination. All the way home, as I stared at white on black, my mind and heart pondered, as many times before, the meaning of those words written so long ago, black on white on black.

The rounded characters of her English style handwriting on that white card spoke to me, as always, of the comfort, warmth and kindness of her character. Dear Granny Kay, specially beloved second wife to my widowed grandfather, precious and dear, Bishop W.T. Hallam, an outstanding evangelical Canadian Anglican bishop in his day, but most of all a man of God, a servant of Christ, of whom my cousin said, "When he came into the room, the air changed." It was one of his Bibles that Granny Kay passed on to me on that special day.

I didn't fully appreciate the significance of those words until many years later. I think at the time I thought them odd, as if they didn't speak enough of great exploits that awaited me in my life in Christ, as if they didn't promise great weapons to fight the battles I felt lay before me. After all, I always felt I carried the mantle of spiritual leadership from my bishop grandfather, and that my destiny involved rising to responsibilities within the body of Christ that were weighty and solemn.

Such was the confusion of a child reared in the church without enough nurturing of deepest needs. Yes, Granny Kay's deep faith was there, expressed largely in an Anglican way, carried with deep and loving humility, the fruit that had won the heart of my grandfather after many years of friendship to his family as she served her own mother and graciously worked at her profession as a Home Economics teacher and area supervisor. I spent many hours with her in her own widowed years, reading to her from the Book of Common Prayer, and hearing her talk of sensing "Will's" presence with her in her room. We shared the bond of our faith and our love for my grandfather, who died when I was five, but who had baptized me as an infant and held me and cherished me often in my early years.

What was the confidence of which she tried to speak to me? Who else was there to help to guide me into that deep trust? Yes, she exemplified that quietness and confidence. How was I to find it in the midst of the turmoils of adolescence and young adulthood? How was I to make those words come off the page of my life, be the white light of guidance on the black pages of experience?

I found many through the years who taught me about confidence in Christ, who fostered my growth in spiritual gifts, gave me opportunities for leadership in the body of Christ, spoke prophetic words over my life and encouraged my sense of destiny. Some were noisy and some were quiet. And the spiritual climate in so much of the body encouraged a seeking after new words, new teaching to shine light in the darkness and illuminate His word in my life. But as the years wore on, like the long journey in the night with the almost blinding snow in my face, it was His quiet voice that began to speak more loudly in my heart. "You belong to Me. That is all that matters, and that is the source of your confidence. Your confidence is your trust in Me. I am faithful. You can rest secure in me."

The almost blinding snowstorms of life have knocked lots of stuffing out of me: my self confidence in my abilities, my pride in my family heritage, my record of spiritual leadership as a missionary, my academic awards, the letters after my name. All of them are rubbish in some sense, and so they should be. Granny Kay and Grandad knew that. That was why they wore their mantles of leadership and achievement well. I seek now, so many years later, to have my strength, like they did, in the quietness of the confidence of my trust in my mighty Saviour and Lord, my friendship with the creator of the universe, who tells me I belong to Him. I am His because He created me in His image, and I need nothing more to make me worthy of His love. And I need nothing more than His righteousness, His gifts, to make me able to stand in His service and His presence, in this world and the next. These are the secrets, the keys to my identity, my worth, my confidence and my trust.



WHO AM I by Casting Crowns

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart
Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

3 comments:

Belinda said...

Dear Meg,
In a busy day no time to comment until now, but I read the post several times, to absorb it as fully as possible. I too, press in to the faithfulness of the Word of God and, also seek my confidence in Christ alone. I loved reading about the journeys, both of them!

Angcat said...

Dear Meg,
That was beautiful. I too haven't had time to read until this evening, but what a gift to end the day on. I loved the descriptions of Granny Kay. What a precious relationship to cherish and remember.
Funnily, I had a time when that exact scripture came to me on a drive up north. In fact it was years ago when Joyful lived in Oro and I was going to visit. I decided to leave the radio off and just listen in quietness for His voice. On the way home, those are the words I heard too.
Such peace and comfort and quietness they are.

And the song you chose is my absolute favorite by Casting Crowns.
Thank you for all this...it has blessed me more than you know!
Ang

Meg said...

Your comments bless me so much too. And it thrills me to add all this to memories of Granny Kay and Grandad Hallam.