It’s been raining here in southern Indiana since Thursday.
Sometimes it is a light rain and sometimes it is pelting and intense, but it
has been pretty regular for days. It always feels right to me when there is
rain during this part of Holy Week. It symbolizes the tears and anguish during
the actual week as the events unfolded.
It also represents my own tears:
- For the things I have done.
- For the things I have left undone.
- For the times I intentionally caused pain to others because of my own pain.
- For the loss.
- For the shame.
- For the grief.
- For the profound sadness.
The wounds and scars of Jesus remind me of my own, at times.
Of course, He endured His for me, for all of us. He had no sin but was sin for
us. My wounds and scars are just as real, but some were caused by my own sin in
addition to the injury caused by others. Jesus takes on sin that isn’t His. He wipes those tears and takes my guilt and
shame as His own. His wounds are Holy and allow me to stand in front of the Holiest.
And then the tears fall again:
- For the forgiveness.
- For the relief.
- For the thankfulness.
- For the love.
- For the saving grace.
All the tears for all the reasons.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” [Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV]
May you fix your eyes on Jesus — Sunday is coming!
Sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I worry. And sometimes I get anxious!
God’s Word tells us “Do not be anxious…” but there are times I am.
I know the truth of God’s Word but we are sinners living in a sinful world. Your sins, my sins, and their sins all can impact us and cause a lifetime of pain and consequences. Life isn’t all about rainbows and fluffy kittens. Some people are living in very hard situations. There are times I look at what some people are going through day after day and I have no idea how they survive except by putting one foot in front of the other and carrying on and clinging to their faith.
But there is more to this life!
Some people are bogged down in difficult life circumstances and others are caught up in the race of acquiring more and achieving more. Sometimes it is easier to hold onto the depths of God’s truths when we struggle because climbing the ladder of success and notoriety takes a lot of time and effort and often some very important stuff can easily be lost in the ascent. Whatever the circumstance, it is easy to get distracted and disoriented when ugly things happen in life if not grounded in God’s Word and His gifts of grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love.
God’s words go against what we see in our world today. His promises and provisions don’t follow the ways of the world and I am so very glad! Posted below is the first verse of a sweet hymn. I didn’t grow up hearing this one but it is one I love to hear children sing! It is both simple and complex. As I look back over my life, I can see God’s gentle guidance and provision and I know that He will provide for me as the future unfolds before me!
I am Jesus’ little lamb,
Ever glad at heart I am;
For my shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my needs and well provides me,
Loves me every day the same,
Even calls me by my name!
by Henritta L. von Hayn, 1724-1782
On the Road,
Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Faithfulness
Maybe this has happened to you…one day you wake up to find that a very significant person in your life is gone…an accident, illness, by their own hand. Maybe it’s a job loss or the words “Our marriage is over”. It makes you want to throw up and crumble up in a ball and scream and plead with God that this not be your circumstance to walk through. Maybe the above happened to someone you care about. When someone close to me experiences significant loss, I often find myself simply stunned with the situation weighing very heavily on my heart and mind. The only thing I can do is pray for clarity, for provision, for peace, and for God to transform the circumstance in the way only He can. God will be faithful to provide!
Every day there are people coping with loss. Many are believers who need someone to pray with and for them and step in with a tangible provision. Others may not be believers but so desperately need to see the reason for our hope. Life is hard but God is good ~ even when the situation is a painful place to be.
If you want to, jot down the names of the people or circumstances that God brings to your heart. Journaling prayers is a great way to keep your mind focused. Or just stop what you are doing and lift the circumstances up. The point is to pray. And to pay attention to what God is putting on your heart. You may be in a position to offer some tangible support. Sometimes your faithfulness as a friend makes all the difference to someone reeling from some devastating news.
Today’s PrayerPoint ~ I Feel Your Pain
No, really, I do. And often literally.
Have you ever had your heart ache over a situation?
If you have shared with me a painful event in your life at some point over the last 30+ years, I have felt your pain. Did I know exactly what you felt or experienced? No, absolutely not. But I know me and I know my heart actually aches and is sometimes overwhelmed when someone I care about walks through a difficult trial.
Empathy is a good thing in relationships. Walking along someone who is struggling is a hard but an important element in friendship. But it is equally important for me not to be consumed by the pain of another.
When I have family and friends experiencing deep pain and loss it is hard for me to watch. It would be wonderful to be able to take the pain away but that is not my place. My role is to pray for and encourage them. There is only One who can truly take that pain and the yuck and rework it for His good.
Do you know a friend in a hard, hard place? Love them. Pray for them. Encourage them. And if you are in a position to offer your ear, listen to them. If you are led, do a little legwork for them to find some useful resources for their situation. You won’t likely be able to fix their problems and that is ok. Know your limitations and recognize that your ability to care for them may be limited by time, space, and healthy boundaries.
There are many difficult things that happen as we live our lives but walking through life with a friend makes it easier to get through some of those challenges.
This week, pray for your friends and the challenges they are experiencing!
“Wounded people wound people.”
Ever notice when people are in pain they lash out at others? They may not even recognize or admit they are in pain but you can see it in how they poke, pester, and provoke others. If someone in your life likes to inflict wounds on others, start by praying for them. If you have been poking at people please consider why that is and get to the root. Pray. Find a trusted friend. Work at not wounding others when you are in pain. There are other ways to work it out!