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Who among us dares start each day with no more prayer than this:
I know I don’t need to ask for anything, because whatever is Your Will for this day must be right for me.
How we would like to have that confidence, but instead we wrestle endlessly against each day, struggling to shape it to our preconceived specifications, to force it to evolve according to our desires, to ensure one occurrence or preclude another, and just as endlessly we seek to enlist God in this effort. Of course, in our hearts, we know God is worthy of our trust and will do the right thing, but still, when alone in prayer, we cannot stop ourselves from giving God daily instructions, what to make happen and what to prevent. And yet, all the Teachers agree that, despite our haunting perception to the contrary, God really does know our needs and can be blindly depended upon to fill them. Be not afraid, they all tell us, repeatedly. Trust life. Thus, in a favorite lesson echoed in the scriptures of countless other spiritual traditions, Jesus teaches,
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will God not much more clothe you – you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?”
So, let’s do so – let’s consider the lilies. Just how do they grow? The answer is, they simply grow. That is, however their lives unfold, they live them, and to the extent they think about them at all, they recognize that whatever occurs, including their very presence in the field, is God’s doing for God’s reasons, and that’s good enough. My function, a lily might reason, is to be a lily, to do what lilies do, and to do it as well as I can, certain that I’ll have what I need to have when I need to have it, because God, being God, must provide.
Now, on the other hand, consider the humans, and how we grow. In a word, we whine. We interpret our relationship with our lives to be one of antagonists, and we are therefore endlessly at odds with them. Worse, we view our lives as a sentence, a punishment, decreed upon us by an angry, vengeful God, and we live them in that spirit, with the inevitable result that much of the time we are miserable. Is it any wonder our coffee tables are stacked with books, and our schedules with workshops, instructing us how to escape? Lilies do not read such books, or attend such workshops. In fact, they would be amused, if not appalled, to learn of their existence.
With all this, it seems the only significant difference between us is, the lilies of the field know that God loves them, and we do not. Perhaps, instead of praying Fix my life, you and I should be praying, Teach me to love You; teach me to trust You; teach me to trust my life.
Dearest God and most precious Teacher, how I wish I trusted You totally, absolutely, and unconditionally, as the lilies do, and could therefore simply walk on, confident that You are patrolling the road ahead of me. But the fact is, I don’t. Despite my best intentions and meditations, I remain afraid of the future. Fortunately, I know that, now that I have finally asked, You will teach me to trust You, and I can’t wait until that lesson anchors. For now, even though I know it’s insane, and that there is no way I can provide for myself or plan for my future even remotely as well as You can, I am unable to stop myself from trying, and so, here I go again today, about to take actions to make happen what I think I want, and to erect barriers and obstacles against everything else. Please be with me as I do so, guiding me, protecting me from my perceived fears, undoing my mischief and my mistakes, and always making Your Extraordinarily Reassuring Presence evident and apparent!