The little girl and her younger brother were playing in their front yard as I passed by on my evening walk. My thoughts were interrupted by her young voice yelling, “There’s a WITCH!” I turned to see where this witch was- and the little girl was pointing at me! I had no choice but to turn around and give them my best witch’s cackle. Shrieking, they ran behind the house and continued to watch me from a safe distance. But even from there I could see their smiles of delight.
Have you ever been “gleefully terrified?” These are the times when you allow yourself to be totally frightened and yet fully trusting that all will be well. You are wildly scared and yet completely happy and excited. You are fully present to the moment, anticipating and watching. I recall some favorite times when my cousin, sister and I would hide from my Uncle Joe. Quietly waiting in our hiding places, we were nervous and afraid- but also joyfully giddy! We knew that when he found us, he would only catch us briefly as we would all laugh and run. The suspense was a gleeful one because we knew we were being “pursued” by someone who loved us very much.
I’ve been thinking that I would like to have more gleefully terrified moments with God. God is an awesome and infinite God, whose love is beyond my comprehension. I know that too often my prayers have asked too little; I have trusted too feebly. I know that I maintain too many boundaries and parameters when I pray for God’s will to be done. I know I have been praying too much for my limited desires and not God’s infinite ones.
I wonder how my life might change if I could dare to pray so readily and freely that I tingle in suspense! To pray so fervently to follow God’s will that I tremble. To open my heart to be so loving that I weep tears of tenderness. To surrender my life so totally that each morning I awaken in giddy uncertainty. To work toward a goal so beyond my ability that I know I will fail without God’s help. To risk my security so readily for the good of others that I become desperate for God’s provision. To ask God to use me where God needs me most- so earnestly that I have goosebumps.
If I could actually pray this way, I know I will feel terrified. But I believe I will also feel extremely gleeful.
Because I am being pursued by someone who loves me very much.