It’s been hard to start writing this week …partly because it seemed almost impossible to pick one theme to focus on when the daily reading this week spoke so powerfully; but partly because the anxious thoughts spoke so powerfully as well — so powerfully that it was soul-overwhelming at times.
Thyroid issues, menopause, deep grief, empty nest, significant personal losses and other major life changes have all converged together to create the perfect storm for me emotionally. They say it’s a chemical imbalance but it feels more like a science experiment while the effort is made to balance those elusive chemicals. I often describe it as if I’m in a room with many doors and I keep trying to find the right door that will get me out. Some days it seems they’re all locked. Some days it seems there are so many doors, it’s overwhelming to know which one to walk through. When you feel like you’re doing everything you can for wholeness –spiritually, physically and emotionally– the struggle often seems even more agonizing. In the mean time, I walk-it-out-with-Jesus for miles each day and I wait…wait for my Healer to show me the right path that He has prepared for me.
I guess that’s why I relate to Thomas — the doubting one — the one who wouldn’t believe until he saw firsthand that Jesus was alive …the one who needed reassurance …the one who needed tangible proof …the one who had to actually see and touch to believe. I understand the agony (and embarrassment) of having to ask those who have chosen to love me through this to give reassurance to my anxious heart and prove those irrational fears are just that …irrational. Like my buddy, Thomas, I long for somebody to show me the evidence and give me a tangible solution to fix the problem …and then I can be on my way!
But Romano Guardini in chapter 21, Believing Is Seeing, tells us that Jesus gave Thomas what he asked for –“a look and a touch”– “but our Lord did not call him blessed.” “…Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” How often am I like Thomas …needing “human evidence to become convinced,” as Guardini said.
“Nothing that comes from God, even the greatest miracle, can be proven like 2 x 2 = 4.”
Bread and Wine
Blaise Pascal asked us to –“implore God’s mercy, not so that he shall leave us in peace with our vices, but so that he may deliver us from them … ” What if, as Pascal says, you are to “Endure the chains and bondage of the body” in this moment as God is doing the greater work of “delivering you from spiritual bondage.”
And now we can feel the weight of the words of Jesus when He said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:38-39 NIV)
“This godforsakenness is the cup which he is not spared. …It is echoed in the dark night of the soul, in which everything that makes life something living withers away, and in which hope vanishes. Martin Buber called it the eclipse of God.” (Jurgen Moltmann ~ Bread and Wine )
Yet we know that through the blood shed and the powerful suffering of Jesus Christ in a brutal death on the cross is our only hope of deliverance!
As Jurgen Moltmann continues to share, “For three hours he hung nailed to the cross, apparently in silence, locked in agony and waiting for death.” Jesus was “locked in agony” …for me …for you. He took on all our sins and sorrows and griefs right there on the cross that day. The agony. The grief. The suffering. The pain. He was rejected and beaten and abandoned so we could have deliverance …salvation …hope …healing …freedom!
“He bore the judgment in which everyone is alone and in which no one can stand. …In him the despair that oppresses us becomes free to hope.” (Jurgen Moltmann~ Bread and Wine)
So I wait — and maybe you are waiting as well — for that healing …that hope …that answer …that relationship to be restored …that loneliness to be met with loving arms …that wound to heal …that forgiveness.
And in my own waiting, I find myself as one “…able to find God’s message in the gospel for the day,” as Romano Guardini says in chapter 21 ( Bread and Wine).
And in the every day of life, the Lenten Rose — blooming around the season of Lent every year — spoke quite the message to me just by being what it was created to be. The blooms bow down to the dirt and soil and their intricate beauty is only seen if one is willing to get low to the ground–right at dirt level– and look up. It was there I found truth …
It’s only in humble surrender –in bowing low–that we are in the right position to look up and see the beauty and the life in the face of Jesus Christ. It’s only in surrendering our lives and our waits and our longings and our healing to Him that we will find true life and deliverance. It’s only in surrendering our physical and emotional needs to the even more pressing spiritual deliverance that Jesus longs to give that we find true peace. He always knows the greater need and is working tirelessly to accomplish that work in us that will ultimately bring abiding joy and sustaining peace to our hearts …as we trust Him! I have to trust God with everything — knowing there’s something worth far more than gold (or personal comfort) that He is establishing in me…a deep rooting that can never be shaken.
Beneath the cross of Christ hope is born again out of the depths.
(Jurgen Moltmann~ Bread and Wine)
Thank you for walking with me! Was there a message God opened your heart to this week? Leave a comment below…I’d love to hear your story. Also, I hope to share some responses from some fellow travelers in a special post very soon. Be watching!
*Next week we’ll share some thoughts based on Chapters 27-33. You don’t have to read the book to join in. Just bring yourself.
Embrace the Journey!
Credit: Photos of path with azalea and bench with Lenten Roses were taken at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, Huntsville, Alabama, where walking-it-out-with-Jesus often takes me.
Many thanks to Patty Lowe for sharing her friendship with me and the beauty from her own garden that still blooms in my own yard (as seen in the featured image — Lenten Rose).