Living passionately, making our life count for something larger than ourselves and yet finding balance in it all seems like a tall order to fill without savouring the wisdom of those who have found answers to these struggles. In One Holy Passion, the insights from these incredible women of faith give a better understanding of the ‘secrets’ of moving forward in the Christian life and each contributing writer has some provoking thought to ponder in a quest to know God more intimately. This book reads like a devotional which is perfect as there are so many powerful messages and memorable thoughts to consider.A very common thread throughout One Holy Passion is the idea that we try to understand God through circumstances, through our griefs and our joys but there are times according to Eugenia Price where it is more important to view Him as an involved God and a committed God. Sometimes our questions are not necessarily answered in words and these are hard times. They tend to look differently though in light of Jesus’ involvement, goodness, commitment and love.
Gail MacDonald talks about a defining moment in her life when someone said ‘untended fires soon die and become just a pile of ashes’ as an analogy of our relationship with Christ. It is a sign of maturity in us to give serious attention to ‘the fire with-in’ and to ask “Is it burning with force, or is it dying? Is it being fed or starved?” If we don’t address this issue, all attempts at finding one’s way through the challenges of life will be relatively futile. Here is where the real issues of the Christian faith are thought out and pressed into action.
Solitude, contemplation and stillness are discussed in this book as gifts to ourselves that we seldom find room for. If our contemplation takes us to our ‘inner space,’ and if we are a Christian, that inner space is already inhabited by the Holy Spirit. Those moments are really taking place in His presence and with His help. These are times of blessing we only rob ourselves of when we do not take the time for them.
Developing an unshakable belief system is also emphasized in this book. Carol Kent talks about being sensitive to the Holy Spirit in times of decision making. It is easy, she says, to operate with a flawed belief system and in the heat of the moment we don’t normally stop long enough to ask, “What are my firm convictions on this subject that will give me directions as I decide on an action?” We are too busy throwing a royal fit because life isn’t turning out the way we hoped it would. If we stop and evaluate our actions and reactions we allow the Holy Spirit and biblical truths to reveal things to us. Even if we blow it, there’s always opportunity for integrity and acknowledgement that we are on a journey that is very much a process.
Joy without happiness is a difficult concept to grasp unless we understand that the joy we can expect as Christians is deeper than emotion. According to Jill Briscoe, joy has two vital elements. First, joy is hope. Even a despairing person can experience joy if they hope or believe things can change for the better. Even if joy is not felt, it is possible that it’s there all the time disguising itself as hope. Second, joy is confidence. This confidence is in knowing God is in control of tomorrow. Knowing He is in charge gives us an overwhelming sense of peace and security. In her words, joy is a settled sense of well-being. Joy leads to trust. Trust leads to joy. As Jill sat by a pond watching fish jump one day desperate to understand why God had not answered her earnest prayers about a situation, she seemed to hear the Lord say, “Jill, do you need to see the fish jump to believe that it is here?’ She knew that underneath that glass-like, still surface the lake was teeming with activity. God is at work behind the scenes and that is something to be joyful about. We don’t have to have a perpetual smile on our faces and sometimes the permission to drop the artificial smile is a relief. We can take comfort in knowing we can be somber, serious, even burdened, yet still have joy.
A final thought by Lois Mowday Rabey:
‘Living a passionate relationship with God is not definable in words. There is no prescription one can take to achieve the desired result. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime decision to do this or that, to live this list and throw out that one. It is a journey. It may have begun for you years ago. It may not yet have started. If we are sidetracked in our journey, gazing at the desires of this world, then our passion for Christ will suffer. And our joy in Him will be diminished. What is important is to begin.’