And in my spirit I heard the *ahem* of God.
So I stopped, as you do, and listened for a second. "I've peeled one layer off that 'onion' for you." was what God seemed to be saying. "You've got a long way to go."
This morning in Lorna's class on spiritual formation was another one of those times I heard the *ahem* of God.
This time it was about trust. "Stink," i thought, "I just moved my family cross country to follow you...you think I don't have trust down?" It's a dangerous but brilliant thing to argue with God. "Onion." was all He had to say. But he went on and talked about my willingness to trust Him for that which I understand but now He's leading me to learn to trust in those places I do not understand, to get both feet out of the boat and firmly on water.
Since the first day of Lorna's class I've been thinking of this picture from C.S. Lewis in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I'll include it here for those interested in reading it. The short version is that pink and tender is the condition I find myself in when God is working most and best.
"I looked up and saw the very last thing I expected: a huge lion coming slowly toward me. And one queer thing was that there was no moon last night, but there was moonlight where the lion was. So it came nearer and nearer. I was terribly afraid of it. You may think that, being a dragon, I could have knocked any lion out easily enough. But it wasn't that kind of fear. I wasn't afraid of it eating me, I was just afraid of it -- if you can understand. Well, it came close up to me and looked straight into my eyes. And I shut my eyes tight. But that wasn't any good because it told me to follow it."
"You mean it spoke?"
"I don't know. Now that you mention it, I don't think it did. But it told me all the same. And I knew I'd have to do what it told me, so I got up and followed it. And it led me a long way into the mountains. And there was always this moonlight over and round the lion wherever we went. So at last when we came to the top of a mountain I'd never seen before and on the top of this mountain there was a garden - trees and fruit and everything. In the middle of it there was a well. . . .
"Then the lion said -- but I don't know if it spoke -- 'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
"The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know -- if you've ever picked the scab off a sore place. It hurts like billy -- oh but it is such fun to see it coming away."
"I know exactly what you mean," said Edmund.
"Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off -- just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt -- and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me -- I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on -- and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again." [115-116]
I've got a lot to learn and I'm getting educated one layer at a time!