There is a time in life, where we feel overwhelmed, were the challenges we face pull at us with the power of a black hole, sucking us in, blinding us to everything…except the vacant brokenness.
It is at those times our faith seems non-existent, the strength and support of God which we rely on seems as distant from us as a galaxy. We become spiritually blind, and the more we try to fight, the stronger that which sucks the life out of us takes hold, and attempts to crush us.
I wish I was speaking from theory, or at least from the strength of one who is there to pull people out. I suppose I could, been there as a pastor, an amateur theologian, someone who enjoys the mystical aspects of worship, and meditation on God’s word. Yet there are days….the battle is too much…and I have to go back to the basics, almost needed to be re-converted, re-baptized, re-freed from that which ensnares me. As i believe we all do.
One of the things that helps is reading the writings of a few people, Henri Noowen is one, Frank Perretti’s early novels, the Church Fathers, Luther’s letters and table talks. And if you’ve read my blogs, you know I have developed a fondness for the devotional writings of Josemarie Escriva , a catholic priest who 10 years ago this day, was canonized a saint. Not all his stuff for sure, there is still the usual challenges of the difference between Roman Catholic doctrine and that of the Lutheran Church. Like Luther, it seems he fought despair, even as God used him to re-focus the church on the grace and strength that is found in Christ Jesus. He knew the costs of his ministry, embraced them and struggled through them. He likened himself to a donkey, (although I wonder if that is a kinder translation of the Spanish) and you can’t read “The Way” or my favorite “the Forge” without seeing the broken heart supported and healed in Christ.
Such a thought I came across today:
If the outlook in your interior life, in your soul, is darkened, allow yourself to be led along by the hand, as a blind man would do. In time the Lord will reward this humble surrendering of your own judgement by giving you clarity of mind. (1)
It is amazing simple, and amazingly true. In talking about Jesus as Lord, we often focus on our obedience, our following His guidance, direction. How often do we look at the obligations He places on Himself, as He offers to become our Lord? Do we see His committing to be present in our lives, to clean and heal us of the damage our sin causes? Do we see His protecting us in the black holes.
Do we see Him at the Forge, in the midst of the heat and pounding that seems to be life – strengthening us, forming us, transforming us? Transforming us, according to Paul in 2 Corinthians, into His image.
I have learned this again. It seems the secrets to escaping the black holes, the quicksand, the traumas of life is to let Him be my Lord, to relax in His grasp, to know He is God……..
As many have before us have… and may our lives serve those who follow, in the same way….
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1021-1023). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.