Reflection for Psalm Sunday 2021

Trusting in the Dark

 Every “I” Dotted, every “T” Crossed

Are you ever sent on tasks or missions by another member of the family? I am, but I’m afraid of getting it wrong.  This means cross-examining Patsy to extract all the necessary details.  My wife then asks me: “ Why do you need to have every tiny  detail?  Why do you need a six-figure grid-reference number to find something?” 

This was the experience of two of the disciples with Jesus just before Palm Sunday.

The Gospel Reading for Psalm Sunday – Mark 11.1-11

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent out two of His disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it shortly.’ ”

4 So they went and found the colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. They untied it, 5 and some who were standing there asked, “Why are you untying the colt?” 6 The disciples answered as Jesus had instructed them, and the people gave them permission. 7 Then they led the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, and He sat on it.

8 Many in the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut from the fields. 9 The ones who went ahead and those who followed were shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11 Then Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.”

No Questions, Just Childlike Trust

Although there were many questions that the two disciples could have asked Jesus, they didn’t.  They just got on without the details.

Even though it looked iffy, their previous experience  convinced them that Jesus would make everything work out right.

This unusual account of disciples trusting the Lord without knowing the ins and outs of everything, took place shortly before that dreadful Passover Friday, when Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion would throw them into chaos. On that day, what to them looked like disaster, had, once again, to become an issue of trust.

 

Gladys Aylward  – from a Safe Routine to Trusting in the Dark

In 1930, Gladys was working in China with Mrs. Lawson offering hospitality to travellers at the Inn of the Eighth  Happiness – and telling them stories about Jesus.  It was a perfect mission station; so imagine her thoughts when the Mandarin of Yang-Cheng asked her to become the Council Foot Inspector!

A government decree had been passed in China, prohibiting the tradition of binding the feet of girls at birth.  The Mandarin said he needed a woman with “big feet” to travel throughout the province on a mule accompanied by two soldiers.  Somehow, this just didn’t seem to line up with her mission work, but  Gladys decided to trust the Lord in this strange situation. These were the words she used in her new role:

“If God intended little girls to have horrible stubby little feet, he’d have made them like that in the first place, wouldn’t he?”

  • As girls were unbound, wiggling their toes with delight, the women of the town would cheer. They loved Gladys and were keen to hear her stories about Jesus. They gave her the name “Ai-weh-deh” – the good woman.  
  • The Mandarin knew she had a special gift for communicating with people, so when there was riot in the prison it was Gladys (the housemaid/cleaner from North London) who sorted it out; and then told the prisoners about Jesus
  • In 1938 the Mandarin told her he was very impressed by her life and he, too, wished to become a Christian.

Trusting in the Dark

The two disciples weren’t given the big picture.  It all looked dodgy. But they knew that Jesus had written the page they were on.  They trusted in Him, in the strangeness of the darkness, and moved on in His peace. Gladys trusted the Lord when He opened this new chapter in her life.  It all looked wrong for missionary work, but she could never have anticipated the breakthrough that God brought through these unusual means!

A simple prayer: Lord, whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  Amen.

Trevor