wait, what it’s only day 5 and i already don’t want to write another one?
i realised last nite that a huge danger of coming up with 40 days of Lent observance activities is the creativity of the idea usurping the actuality of the practical nature of the observance…
wait, are you actually going to do that? that’s a lot of thankfulness and gratitude you’re calling the people to [in day 3's Lent Observance] two days ago…
and so, i made time earlier today to write a friend of mine an email to really express much gratitude and thankx for who he is and the effect he has had on my life… and i made sure that yesterday’s Lent observance was simple and straightforward and easy to do [but still significant] and instead of simply looking out the window for a thing of beauty, i got off my butt and went outside and found a few things to marvel at and give God thankx for.
but the danger was ever so real – getting caught up in writing the thing that you no longer are actually doing the thing [can happen with preaching, with worship, with taking photos, or flying around the world telling stories]
so back in a good place and ready to be observing this Lent thing with you again and then a moment of being curveballed by… well, a ball that curved.
pain. brokenness. frustration. feeling quite far away from God and calling on His Presence and Love and just being-nearness and feeling nothing.
God, are you there?
How do i write a Lent observance if i don’t even know that God is there?
sitting on a cold, concrete step, late night, outside of our apartment, quietly singing some favourite worship songs in the hope that they will channel God a little bit closer to me…
in this moment, i have nothing, i am feeling nothing, i am sensing nothing, i don’t feel like i have much to offer.
and i am reminded of this passage in Job [woe is me, right?]:
3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
although in the new interfishional version i’m pretty sure that one line read, ‘You are talking like a foolish brettfish. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’
and maybe that’s it. maybe that’s what i DO have to offer today:
Task: Your brokenness, your feelings of being far from God, your repetitional cyclical unyielding sin, your lack of faith, your doubt, your messy, your guilt, your lack of hope, your unforgiveness, your anger, your pride, your scars, your pain… hand it over to God. And leave it with Him.
1 Peter 5.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Matthew 11.28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
i think, maybe, God has us on this one.
well, i don’t think, i know.
and sure it doesn’t feel like that right at this moment, but what is fast becoming a regular mantra of mine: This too, shall pass. i’m confident of that.
if i’m willing to accept good from God then surely i have to be okay when things are not looking so great. i mean, that’s relationship, right? that’s life.
and then to end with a verse and sentiment and wrestling that sustains me through so much of my Christian walk:
Mark 9.24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
if i was going to paraphrase that with what’s going through my mind right now it would be something along the lines of, ‘i do believe! it just don’t feel so believy right now.’
so join me today in taking all the stuff in your life that feels too big for you to handle, the weight that feels too heavy for you to carry and the stuff that just downright doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at all, and let’s drop it at the cross, spend some time handing it over to God and thanking Jesus that He has already dealt with it [debt paid!] and then let’s be very serious about walking away and not dragging it off with us…
have a great day of unburdening. God is bigGER. of this i am sure.
help me with my unbelief.
[To return to the beginning of this series, click here]