by Andrew Manning
These meditations are aimed at encouraging you to think about the wilderness of life. Jesus spent forty days being tempted and facing the vulnerability and weakness of the human condition. Some of this will resonate, some will not. Some of this will raise questions and some will challenge your thinking, it is a meditation, and that is what its work is, to get you thinking. Someone once said that meditation is “positive worry.” It is mulling over in your mind things that will draw you closer to God and to seeking his strength and wisdom. In these lent meditations we are working towards accepting the Glorious revelation of Christ, and so each meditation will leave you in the wilderness until the series is complete. My pray is that these meditations will help you to spend time with God dealing with your reality and allowing the Spirit of God to come and tend you. Andrew – your fellow pilgrim through the wilderness.
We are a world at war, trouble on every side. Our desire is to have the strength to fight, to stand up against corruption and to have the courage that we read about in the lives of others. We want to be fearless, we do not understand what we do for what we want to do, we don’t seem to do and what we don’t want to do we do all too easily. The devil temps us to believe that we are failures before we even start. Do not believe his lies, do not harden your hearts. We are more than conquerors through him who loves us.
“Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common senseMark Hall
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle.”
I must admit that it is far easier to be full of faith when we don’t particularly need it. When things are going well and life make sense, we are bold and prepared to take risks. We offer ourselves to God and speak of our willingness to make sacrifices. A willingness to sacrifice our comforts. The phrase of this song comes from the imagery of American suburban lifestyle were all the benefits of the American dream are a norm in daily life. When we have it all worked out faith comes easily. But life is lived in the wilderness. Life is lived in a place where we have not got it all worked out, where poverty and illness and death seem to be surrounding the righteous, while the unrighteous seem to prosper. Deep in our hearts we want to be heroes for Jesus. We want our actions to glorify him. Others seem to do it so well, they know just the right prayers to pray, just the right things to say, but we feel inadequate.
We all want to be fearless and heroic. It is part of the human condition. But, just as much part of the human condition is the reality of our fear and trepidation, even about the everyday issues we face. And so somewhere between our dream of being a bold Disciple, profoundly proclaiming the word of God; and our reality of just trying to make it through the day without denying Christ all together, you’ll find me. And Peter. Reflect on Peters life, and you will see that God is with us right there in the middle, between heroism and cowardice. And there in the middle , Jesus loves us, restores us reaches out his hands to us. John Mark (re read the Gospel of Mark, and notice this) continually points out the weaknesses of the disciples, their doubts, and fears, it is as a reminder that God chooses us though we are weak and poor, though we are somewhere in the middle, and he has compassion, and he lifts us up. In fact, God uses human weakness to show love to the world, the incarnation is Jesus living between heaven and earth, right in the middle of the fallen world holding onto us and holding onto God. Even Jesus felt hungry, weak and tired. Even Jesus felt anxious and afraid, the whole crucifixion experience is an experience of the middle.
Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves and sometimes we make to many excuses. Fortunately for us, God is not looking down upon us and keeping score. God loves us, because he loves us, because he loves us. Think of Kind David who was described as a “man after God’s own heart.” It wasn’t because of his bravery or perfection, but because of his desire and willingness to be corrected. King David knew that he was in the middle between who God had crowned him to be and who his human frailty made him to be. It is essential that we have a confidence in God’s love for us. Think about what makes you doubt God’s love for you. Think too about what makes you confident that God will hear your prayers, answer them, and shower his blessings upon you. Don’t see this as confusion but accept that you are somewhere in the middle between who you are and who God is making you to be.
Let us pray.
Compassionate God strengthen us in our weakness to serve you alone.
Help us to resist all temptation to draw back in fear.
Perfect love drives out fear and we have not been given a spirit of fear, so strengthen us we pray that today we face the challenges of life confident in you
For the battle belongs to the Lord, and you are victorious.