And, the more that I think about Jesus saying, “Do not be afraid, just have faith” to a man whose little daughter has just died, the more I am both amazed and comforted. When I reflect on the many things that are ‘crosses’ in my life right now, none of them can compare with the death of a child. If Jesus could tell a grieving father to ‘just have faith’ when the circumstances seemed so dire, then there is nothing that I can’t bring to him, and nothing that he can’t heal.
“Just have faith” – three little words that can change my life. These three little words are transforming…they effect my attitudes, my decisions, my moods, my past, present and future, the way I live and the way that I love. He tells me, “Just have faith” and I answer:
I’m really worried
I’m so afraid
I’m not seeing you, hearing you, feeling you right now
I have to do something…I have to take control
I fear the worst
And he responds, “Do not be afraid, JUST HAVE FAITH”
And I ask for the faith of a mustard seed so I can move mountains.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
1 Peter 4:7
Intercessory prayer has always been a mystery to me. Oh, I believe in it….I always ask for other’s prayers and often offer to pray for them as well. I know that it is important. I know that it makes a difference. I can’t really explain how, but I suppose that it may not really matter if I understand it or not. As a Christian, we must find peace in Mystery.
So, someone close to me is hurting and in pain. I present her to God, I pray for her and then, according to St. Peter, I’m supposed to let it go? Much easier said then done! Here is where my little brain goes: If I let it go, will God think that I don’t care anymore about it? Don’t I have to keep telling God how worried I am? I would feel guilty if I don’t obsess about it….
It’s like a tug of war with God. I pray and surrender – I’m filled with worry – I lift her to God – I’m anxious about the situation. Maybe that’s the best that I can do. I’m only human after all. When people I care about are hurting, I hurt too.
For today, my prayer is that I can ease up just a little on my grip – not quite ready to let go of the rope and end this game of tug or war, but perhaps, just for today, I can be pulled a bit towards God’s side.
What an interesting lent this is turning out to be. To all those strong and disciplined people out there, I tell you this in the utmost humility: This year the lenten promise that I made lasted a whole 6 days! I think that this was the shortest thus far in my life!
My lenten promise, what I decided to do, what I thought was best….hmm… and, as usual, God has other plans! Now, I’m not blaming God for my lack of will power (that chocolate was just too good to resist!), but as the days and weeks passed, I realized that there is something to learn here, how can I grow from this experience?
First, it teaches me great humility – I’m not in charge and I am not strong enough to ‘go it alone’. I trip and fall, over my own feet sometimes, and I’m so grateful for the loving arms that always pick me up and hold me as I begin to walk again.
Second, if I am quiet enough then I can hear that tiny whisper which lets me know what I should really be concentrating on. And, it is always gift, pure gift, not deprivation, although sometimes it may sting a little, like the bright light on a sunny day.
So, what is it for me this lent?
I remember the cross….I remember the reason for the cross. He asks me to give to him my worries. Fears that have actually become a part of me. Worries that I cling to. He wants them, He wants my healing, he wants my wholeness….
Now, that’s really giving something up for lent!
We walk around with burdens….we’d love to be able to shed our feelings of guilt, fear, worry, etc. We have lists and if asked, we’d all love to be free of them. But, I wonder, have they become the actual fabric of who we are? Have they become ‘friends?’
There may be a subconscious need to hold onto these negative forces because releasing them leaves us vulnerable. We know what they are, how much of our energy they demand, how to co-exist, so to speak. Who will I be if I let my fears go?
It’s difficult because releasing them requires us to stand for a bit in the dark, naked and exposed. We need to re-define ourselves. ‘I’m a worrier, that’s who I am’ can’t work anymore.
Sometimes we may have to look hard at ourselves and see how much a part of us our fears, guilt and worry have become. We may have to excise them and that leaves us with open wounds.
It is then that God comes to us-
to receive those so-called ‘friends’
to heal our wounds…..