Prayer grounds and cultivates the only relationship that can never be taken away.
I am about to be married, and it is wonderful. My engagement to David has continually demonstrated the bounty and love of the Lord for us both, while simultaneously demonstrating that we don’t particularly deserve his bounty. As an example, I, for one, have taken it as an opportunity to worry; worry about our wedding, our new home, our schedules, our two very consuming jobs, and even how our dog is going to adjust. More significantly, I have found myself indulging one of my bigger fears: the fear of losing someone I love so much.
This same fear has plagued me most of my life. I am from a loving and whole family, one that I treasure. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t fear losing someone in my family, or being lost by them. The grief that comes from the death of a loved one is one of the most painful things I think we can experience. I felt a portion of it a few years ago when my grandfather died. The loss of another person is irreparable, and losing one you love, devastating. They are gone and they shouldn’t be, and there is nothing you can do about it.
There are few things in life that cannot be taken away, and it seems that the very best times highlight this fact. In choosing to love someone, I am choosing to potentially experience the loss of him. In choosing to love the world around you, you will grieve more at the brokenness and pain it contains.
There are few things in life that cannot be taken away, and it seems that the very best times highlight this fact.
There is, of course, a sole exception: your relationship with God. God cannot be taken from you by any of the forces that can take everything else, and this means that devoting yourself to prayer is devoting yourself to the development of an eternal and unbreakable relationship.
You’ve probably heard something like this before, as I know I had, but it never truly sunk in until I experienced real grief and fear. It had been told to me like a platitude, a kind of “Isn’t it cool to talk to God because you’ll be talking to God forever!” (which actually seemed to me like a reason not to bother talking to him, as I’d have plenty of time). But when Jesus says to Martha, “…only one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.” I think he must mean something more than merely that he won’t make Mary go work in the kitchen.
In The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius argues that we cannot rely on anything impermanent or unprotected for our happiness, as we would always actually be relying on that which keeps it in our lives or protects it. So if you rely on money to give your happiness, you are actually depending on the person who guards your money, and your happiness is dependent on circumstance and fortune. Boethius then searches for a source of happiness that cannot be taken away, and what he finds is holiness.
We cannot rely on anything impermanent or unprotected for our happiness.
Sitting at the feet of Christ can never be taken from you; not by circumstance or time, trial or persecution. Your life in prayer is yours forever, and yours completely. It is that in which you can rest and feel at peace. This is an amazing comfort to me, for from it springs a great deal of hope and security. If God cannot be taken from you, then all other griefs and fears can be held in that relationship, submitted to it. In the face of loss, you know of one great and shining thing that is yours. And it will not be taken.
Cate is the Head of Academics for K-12 at The Saint Constantine School. She is the founder and former Director of The Academy, an innovative, great books-based, dual-credit program at Houston Baptist University. She serves as the Director of Staff and Student Care for Wheatstone Ministries.
Cate has a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from Talbot School of Theology, and a degree in English Literature from Biola University, where she is a perpetual member of The Torrey Honors Institute. She writes and speaks regularly on education, homeschooling, and helping kids grow into mature Christian adults.