St Brendan’s Day

Cross by gmgilium mf

Celtic Cross by gmgilium used with permission

By Rebecca Baxter

The last few months have been tough. Lots of frustrations, unknown outcomes, and plenty of questions. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t do patience as well as I would like. And not being able to perceive the road ahead is a very uncomfortable experience for me. I’ve been here many, many times before. Maybe it gets to be easier as I grow. Trusting God has often been an academic exercise for me. I know in my mind that I want to trust God. I know even more that God has proven to be worthy of my trust…all our trust. Execution of that trust on an emotional level isn’t quite so simple. For me at least. How about you? And so now I find myself with this deep desire to write about a saint that I aspire to live like. A saint that, for me, embodies all that it means to trust God and let go.

So many of us have deeply held dreams for all manner of things. Who we may marry, the children we may have, the place we want to live, book we want to write, ministry we want to be involved in, degree we want to get, job, car, house, health…the list is endless really. We cling to them like a bulldog at times. “No one and nothing will ever take away my dreams”, we say.  The catchy quotes are plastered all over the internet, with their stereotypical pictures that inspire and motivate us to “never give up”.

There are times to work hard to see the dreams we hold come to fruition. And there are times to relinquish a dream. Because God has a different dream in mind for us, and he is asking for us to follow him. And it’s a God dream that we already know by obedient experience will be a far better fit, that will usually stretch us, grow us, grow The Kingdom. It is at that point I found myself once again just a few short weeks ago. A moving away from a place, without any clear idea of where too from here, aside from the call to trust God. To be obedient, and wait on the next step.

St Brendan took a journey, notably with a small group of monks as companions, and after seeking God and wise council. The sea journey was full of dangers, and the protection of God was evident. There is this element of abandoning all that is known, and letting God do what was needed.  Or utter surrender and trust.

“Shall I abandon, O King of mysteries, the soft comforts of home?

Shall I turn my back on my native land and my face towards the sea?

Shall I place myself wholly at the mercy of God..?

Shall I leave the prints of my knees on the sandy beach?

A record of my final prayer in my native land.

Shall I take my tiny coracle across the wide sparkling ocean?

O King of the glorious heaven, shall I go of my own choice upon the sea?

O Christ, help me with the wild waves!”      Prayer of Brendan

What trust journeys do we find ourselves in right now? What dream(s) might we be relinquishing? What unknown to us, but known to God place might we be heading? Do we believe that Christ will help us? And if the answer is yes, then are you ready to take to the waves? Or maybe right now the cry of your heart is the same questions in the prayer above…shall I? Shall I? Shall I? Help! And do you  know what? I think that’s ok. Because in it all you are in this real conversation with the King of Heaven, asking for help, with the people God has placed around you saying “Listen, trust God, be obedient, God is with you, and fully worth trusting.”