afraid 27:10-11

Whatever I see that I need and then see that it is not in my control, it takes a life of its own in my eyes. It scares me. I don’t know what will happen to it, or because of it, to me. I fear things will go wrong. I will get hurt. Someone I love will get hurt. I feel I cannot ensure my benefit, my wellbeing, my happiness. As long as it was in my hand, i was doing fine. But when I lost control, i am not fine anymore. Things are not fine anymore. Who knows what will happen! Who knows what I was doing was actually good! I feel unsure to the core. Did I understand rightly? Did I think right? Did i do the right things? Am i good? Am i worthy? When I realize, for instance, that my understanding is not perfect, this lack makes me scared – what is going to happen now? I want to understand perfectly but when I look carefully at it, i see there are so many questions and problems in it that I can’t figure out things fully and perfectly. I find “what about that? or this” in my understanding. I see moving parts. Things are not stable and final and certain as I would like them to be.

Or for instance, I want someone I care about to be happy and well. I do all I can. And i may imagine this is what I should do and it will work..to some degree at least. And then I look at my efforts and plans more carefully and I see how they can fail, how they do fail, how they are not in my power to accomplish, what happens when this dawns on me? That my best efforts may not be enough to attain a satisfactory or desired result? What happens when I see that there are many things that are not in my control. There are moving parts. I get scared. I start to lose hope. Nothing will be as I want! I am anxious. All will be terrible and lost! Now that it is not a “staff” in my hands, it has become a thing of terror! Call it staff, call it serpent, call it living thing..whatever it is..it terrifies me. It is a darkness of despair that begins to envelop me. I see a terrifying thing in the limits of my agency. As long as I assumed that my will will be done, I was ok with the staff. But when i see the staff moves not by my will, that i am able to use it for benefit but it is not under my full command (e.g. my understanding is not under my command), i am afraid. I am afraid that, for instance, i don’t understand what i need to understand.

with the staff in my hand, I feel I am doing things that are good for me. It is only when I throw it down, when i see that it is not under my command actually, that I find myself terrified. What do i do?

I learn from these two verses that there is a Moses in me that gets scared when he sees his staff moving, as if alive, as if not working as per his wilI but with some kind of “mind of its own” that I do not know! It doesn’t have a mind but I see it outside my control and with a life of its own. It is unpredictable. Everything melts into air. What I understand, for instance, may be all wrong! Understanding is not subject to me! It is some unknown living force that I want to have control over, that I felt like I had control over, but when I realize it is not really under my control, I feel insecure. I don’t feel secure and at peace when something that matters to me, something i see essential and valuable to me, becomes unpredictable and something unknown. When things start to “slip away” from me because I realize I cannot make them how I want them to be, I cannot keep them as I want, I do not have power over them. This hit home recently when I realized my son was going through a tough time mentally and I could not understand what was wrong and could not help, even as I wanted to. I saw him and his emotions take their course as I watched in fear – not knowing what was going to happen, seeing him not able to understand what was bothering him. As understanding abandoned us or eluded us, we were scared.

These verses take me from “seeing” something that terrifies me i.e. that I am not the One who can understand whatever and whenever I so will to “finding” myself in the presence of the One who is the owner of all understanding. When I am not the one who understands, i can the One who gives me whatever little (or more) understanding I find with me, as a benefit/grace from the owner of understanding. From a terrifying feeling of “seeing” myself losing my ability to secure my wellbeing, I can, with the lens of these verses, instead “see” the source of all understanding and all benefit (mine and everything else’s) present with me. And so I see things not falling into chaos when I don’t see myself in control or when I don’t see the things themselves in control of themselves. Instead, my realization that I, and all the things, are not in control of their own existence and state, can lead me to the presence of the One who is present as the Powerful and the Wise and the Knowing who IS in control. When things are not their own source and self-masters, they find the One who is the Master and the Source.

It makes sense to me that my maker tells me that the throwing of the staff is not a thing to be feared because it CAN BE without revelation’s guidance. It often IS. And I find it better for me that instead of being in fear, I see the lack and limits of my powers as a sign that they are not from me. When I deny they are from me or from themselves, I find the One who is their source. I can use the staff to benefit me as per its maker’s will as i regularly do. I make use of compassion to care for those who need care for instance. But the reality of this compassion is that it is not from me. It is the servant of another, its maker and source. The idea that the compassion is not mine, that “I am not compassionate” is terrifying but only because it should be, without revelation’s guidance. Why? Because if I am not compassionate and if things are not compassionate, then there is no compassion at all! All compassion is mere illusion! It is cruelty. It is a deception. And so revelation comes to speak to this terror. And it says, this compassion you felt and benefitted from is not an illusion. The illusion is that it is yours. That you can accomplish with it everything you want! No! The verse says, compassion is the maker’s servant. It moves as per His will not yours! instead of being terrified, realize that you are a bearer of your maker’s message, you are holding your maker’s compassion in your hand. This compassion is a message because it is telling you, “your Lord is compassionate!” “your Lord understands everything” and so on. The bearer of this message i.e. the messenger is not afraid because he finds His Lord present.

It is so terrifying to throw the staff down that I can only really try to throw it AND attain safety/security when I find my Lord in the throwing of it. If my throwing does not mean this to me, I cannot really throw it!

more later…

Published by Faraz Sheikh

Faraz Sheikh

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