"It was a profound pleasure to her to not know what was coming next, provided someone whom she loved knew."–George MacDonald (From "The Maiden’s Bequest," edited by Michael R. Phillips)

In Chapter 17 of George MacDonald’s "The Maiden’s Bequest," Annie, an orphan, discovers that her two friends love for her to read poetry to them out loud as they work on the boat they’re building. But, alas! She has read them all the poetry she has from the trunk that contains all she owns in the world. Screwing her courage to the "sticking post," she goes to Mr. Cowie, a local clergyman and the only person she can think of who might be able to help.

She is unsure of her reception, but boldly knocks on the door and is ushered in to see him, to her amazement and delight. Then, wonder of wonders, he truly listens to what she has to say. Then another wonder! He asks his daughter to get not one, but two books of poetry to lend to her! Then, not just a wonder, but a miracle: He invites her have tea with him in his parlor–a heavenly treat for one with nothing and no one in the world.

MacDonald says, "There the tea was all laid out. He led Annie to the table and she went without a questioning thought or a feeling of doubt. It was a profound pleasure to her not to know what was coming next, provided someone whom she loved knew." What a picture of heaven. Delights beyond our imagination, love beyond our comprehension. But, even more so, I think it is a picture of trust.

Annie’s profound pleasure in not knowing what came next came from the pleasure she had in being able to love and trust Mr. Cowie. Isn’t our severe lack of pleasure in not knowing "what comes next" in our lives actually centered in our lack of love for God? And I think that’s because It’s hard to truly get a grip on how deeply and richly God loves us. It’s a matter of trust.

We want to maintain control, be masters of our own destinies. It’s MY right to make of MY life what I will! It’s a free society, right?  To go into the future without doubts or questions, or to take pleasure in not knowing what’s coming next…unheard of! And look at the anger and blame-placing that surges through our culture when something like the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina or 9-11 happens. We didn’t see that coming! How dare God do that to us? (well…He didn’t, but that’s a different subject.)

I think of Acts 8, where we are told that the Christians of 1st-century Jerusalem were forced to scatter, due to persecution after the stoning of Stephen. It must have been a turbulent, frightening time for them, but the gospel message of Jesus was spread throughout the world due in part to that scattering (verse 4). God didn’t cause or allow the persecution that scattered them, or the martyrdom of Stephen that opened the floodgates for it. It was a human-created situation. But in turn, God created good out of it; their pain and upheaval was not meaningless, though they probably couldn’t have seen that through their tears and fear.

In our human, finite "wisdom," we don’t know what’s in store for us, as Annie didn’t know what to expect when she approached Mr. Cowie.  

But God does.

Not only that, but because of His rich, rich love for us, we can trust His heart even in the midst of pain and confusion, as Annie trusted Mr. Cowie’s heart. We can take to Him all our questions, doubts, pain, love, pride and joy. He will always work the bad–and the good–things of this sin-ridden world for His glory and for the ultimate good for His people. His love for us won’t have it any other way…the Bible tells us, "God IS love." I just breathe a little deeper and easier every time I think of that verse.

I choose today to take profound pleasure in trusting my Creator, who loves me beyond my imagination and comprehension!  Christ knows where you are today, too, and you, too, can trust His infinite love and care.

David put it this way in the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…"