This morning, over coffee, I came across this from T.S. Eliot. What does it mean to be a Christian?
“A condition of complete simplicity/ (Costing not less than everything).”
I was astonished at the resounding response I felt in my heart when I read those words and it took me just a bit to figure out why I responded so powerfully.
It has been eight months since our twins entered their rest. The grief I feel over their loss seems only to increase, and, added to it, is what often feels like a crippling fear of the future. It is a strange thing to face what has not yet come and, instead of hope, feel the gnaw of dread. It saps me of strength, and, even worse, eats away at my faith. I can feel the fiery darts of the Evil One: “How will you bear what might be coming?” And, just as he wants me to, I succumb to his whispers, feeling that I will not make it and my faith will surely fail – if not today then tomorrow.
Between grief over what has happened and fear of what will happen I find myself unable to press forward in the present. My faith is weak and faltering. My resolve fails.
When I read those words this morning I knew what Eliot might have meant. Simplicity is living only and always in the moment. It is the faith that says, “I will trust God now.” It means refusing to think about the future but bringing all the force of my will to bear upon “this moment” – not next week, not tomorrow, not even an hour from now, but NOW. Faith is only this present minute. This is all I have to believe – that God is with me now. My whole existence is reduced to the smallest and simplest thing: “Yes, Lord, I believe you now.”
Or, as Another said, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow.”
“I search my heart – I search, and find no faith. Hidden he may be in its many folds – I see Him not revealed in all the world. Duty’s firm shape thins to a misty wraith. No good seems likely. To and fro I am hurled. I have to stay. Only obedience holds – I haste, I rise, I do the thing He saith.”