A collected witness

Lori Elliott prays in this morning's Fruit of the Vine, "God, I need courage." It's a prayer that responds to God's command that Joshua "be strong and very courageous." It's a prayer that remembers Paul's final exhortation to the members of the church at Philippi to "not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." It's a prayer that reflects Lori's real-life experience, her real-life need. It's a prayer just like many I've prayed.

Lori shares the story of speaking to a "Mothers of Preschoolers group about raising a child with autism." Although she "envisioned a group of fifteen or twenty moms. . . . There were over one hundred mothers in the audience. . . . My legs were shaking and my heart was racing, and I couldn't seem to find the words."

In open worship, Robert Barclay writes that "they are inwardly taught to dwell with their minds on the Lord" and that when we wait on God, a witness "arises in the heart, and the light of Christ so shines that the soul becomes aware of its own condition." This is what I've been experiencing these last few months, as I read each morning the personal stories - both large and small - of the ways God is moving in our hearts and through our experiences, illuminating both scripture and our lives. I'm finding in each morning's Fruit of the Vine, a collected witness of the ways in which our waiting gives God the opening he needs to teach us through our experience, a way in which "the light of Christ so shines that the soul becomes aware of its own condition."

It's exactly what I needed to hear today. Lori closed her eyes "for a second and prayed: God, I need courage." And God answered.

Eric Muhr