I make the confession not because it is of interest, but because it illustrates a main deduction which I should now like to draw. It is to the effect that God is with us to be utilised. His Power, His Love, His Thought, His Presence, must be at our disposal, like other great forces, such as sunshine and wind and rain. We can use them or not, as we please. That we could use them to their full potentiality is, of course, not to be thought of; but we can use them in proportion to our ability. If I, the individual, still lack many things; if I am still a prey to lingering fears; it is probably because I have not yet rooted out a stubborn disbelief in His Power. If I succeed in this, I shall doubtless be able to seize more of His bounty. It is not a question of His giving, but of my capacity to take.
The contrary, I venture to think, is the point of view of most of us. We consider God somewhat as we do a wealthy man whom we know to be a miser, forming the shrewd surmise that we shall not get much out of him. The God who fails to protect us from fear fails, I believe, because we see Him first of all as a niggard God. He is a niggard not merely with regard to money but all the good things for which He has given us a desire, with no intention of allowing that desire to be gratified. Once more, He is the hard Caucasian business man, whom His subordinates serve because they don’t see what else to do, but whom they rarely love.
We shall not, in my judgment, overcome fear till we see Him as He surely must be, generous beyond all our conceptions of generosity. Years, experience, many trials, and some knowledge of the world, have convinced me that we have no lawful or harmless cravings for which, as far as God is concerned, there is not abundant satisfaction. I am convinced that absolute confidence in God’s overflowing liberality of every sort is essential to the conquest of fear. If we don’t profit by that liberality, the fault is not His but our own. I am tempted to think that the belief of so many generations of nominal Christians in a God whose power was chiefly shown in repressions, denials, and capricious disappointments is responsible, in so small measure, for our present world-distress.
In my own case, it was a matter of re-education. To find God for myself, I had to be willing to let some of my old cherished ideas go. They may have been true of God as He reveals Himself to others; they are not true of Him as He makes Himself known to me. The Way that leads me to the Truth and the Life is undoubtedly the Way I must follow.
Doing that I have found so much, mentally, emotionally, materially, which I never had before, that I cannot but look for more as my absorbing power increases. The process is akin to that of the unshrivelling of the inner man, as a bud will unfold when the sunshine becomes strong enough. The transformation must be in thought. There must be first the Metanoia, the change of mind, the new set of concepts; and then the Soteria, the Safe Return, to the high, sane ideal of a co-operative Universe, with a loving, lavish Universal Heart behind it.
“‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear though the earth be removed, and
though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…. Come, behold the works of the Lord…. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, he cutteth the spear in sunder, he burneth the chariot in the fire…. Be still then, and know that I am God,'””
PHOTO CREDIT : WISCONSIN PICTURES
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