Isaiah 43:5a Do not fear, for I am with you
The Lord said:
She created me, formed me
Tells me “Don’t fear”
She calls me by name and I am hers
I will not be overwhelmed
I can walk through all dark shadows,
and dangerous paths,
I will not be harmed
She ransomed me, bought me
Rescued me from my enemies
Because, She loves me, . . . ME!
I will not fear because GOD is with me
©Ruth Jewell, June 26, 2012
I am preparing for an amazing journey this fall and sometimes I am a bit overwhelmed by it all. In September I will be traveling, with my husband, to spend 4½ months studying at the Ecumenical Institute, in Bossey Switzerland. This is a gift from my Academic and Faith communities and I am afraid. Afraid I won’t live up to what they expect. Afraid that I won’t live up to what I expect. Afraid of … wait a minute here, yes I am afraid but I am also excited and blessed by two communities who care for me. Wow, what an honor to be chosen, what a gift of love and kindness from the two communities that have been so important in my life for the last 5 years. But what if I fail, what if I can’t do this, how will I make this up to the people I respect the most? Ok, I sound a bit confounded here don’t I? Well for the last couple of months I have felt that way. But a something changed and now while I am still afraid, I feel more fearless.
It happened when I was reading Isaiah 43:1-5a the other day during my Morning Prayer time and something clicked. For the first time I remembered I was not alone on this journey. I have my husband who will travel with me. I have family, and friends who will be in my heart and sending me their good wishes. I have an Academic and Faith Community who respects and loves me for being just who I am and they stand beside me and will send me with prayers. But most of all I have the all abiding Presence that is within and all around me to keep me safe. I cannot count the number of times I have fallen and been picked up by the Divine, so why should I doubt her ability to keep me safe now? I know God is with me, whether I am safe here at home or thousands of miles away in a strange land.
But part of me, the scared part, keeps thinking God is so busy with all of the world’s problems why would she care about, me, struggling to be a good servant, as I, and John, make this journey? Yet the Great Spirit always has, and I want to believe, really I do. In John 15:9 Jesus says “abide in my love” and I want to, but will that keep me safe? Is Jesus’ love all that I need to feel safe, secure, as the being I am to be? Does Jesus, God, Holy Spirit want a servant? Or do they also need to have someone, like me, stand up for them? Now that is an interesting thought.
Love goes both ways, God loves me, and when I truly accept that love, that grace given gift, then I love God, I can do nothing else. But with that love go responsibility and sometimes that responsibility means traveling into dangerous and strange places. Places that I would not expect to go or even desire to go, but because I am called by someone I love, and someone who loves me, I will go.
Wow, that is a huge statement. Why would anyone do that for an unseen lover? I cannot answer that for anyone but me and all I can say is, “my unseen love is very visible, to me, in the world around me.” So if I see God in the faces of my husband, families, friends (human and otherwise) then I have to heed the call. I know I said at the end of my poem I wouldn’t be afraid, but … God, I probably will be. But I will continue to move forward. Switzerland here I come, I hope you are ready for me, because I will be ready for you. Fear, and excitement, will be my partners but I have a greater partner in the greatest love that has ever been.
©Ruth Jewell, June 26, 2012