When my spiritual director asks me what God feels like during trials or joys, it’s a hard question for me.
Ferreting out the feelings buried beneath all those lofty thoughts (ha!) does not come all that easily to me.
But I practice a lot.
Just like any other discipline, I practice faith to grow in faith. I practice the rhythms of letting go and listening, that also do not come all that naturally to me. And gradually God makes it clear that God’s been there all along, and yet, I come to experience God in new ways.
“Sturdy,” was my reply the other day, when my spiritual director asked about who God is to me lately. It’s not in the Bible, although a host of other like adjectives– steadfast, firm, unshaking–do come to mind.
Sturdy feels humble, though, like it might have fit neatly into Jesus’ Aramaic vocabulary. In the dictionary, one who is sturdy is strongly and solidly built, capable of withstanding rough work or treatment, and showing confidence or determination.
And when you think about it, despite some of the depictions of his fragile frame, withered on the cross, Jesus walked everywhere during his ministry, and he shouldered that heavy cross without complaint.
Jesus was rugged, dependable, and sturdy.
And I think the miracle of faith is that we, who are weak, whiny, and worrisome, we are invited to share in that sturdiness. We carry it within us when we dare to give and receive love, when we refuse to abide by the ways of this world, but abide in God instead. We become sturdy when we see and believe that God is making us new, by living in us and through us.
We become confident, not in ourselves, but in the sturdiness that inhabits hearts, hands, and feet. Our fragile frames can endure great trials because of who God is, what God has done, and who we are becoming.
So this weekend, look for signs of sturdiness in those around you, in your life, in you. You’re stronger than you think, because you carry not only the cross, but the resurrection within you.