DARKNESS

Is it not possible that we as Christians are subject to the groaning of this world just as anyone else? While we may not fear evil, the ultimate loss of faith, we do need to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

There is, in all of this, a type of abandonment. Some feel abandoned by God whose oft-repeated promises seem to insulate believers from earthly trials. But the God we have come know and trust in Christ subjected himself to the worst the world would offer, to the point of crucifixion. The true sign of the faith is trusting the crucified Christ – the pioneer of our faith and our own journeys. Pioneers lead the way through the worst to discover the best. Even those travellers in long ago America had their share of fear, anxiety, and doubt but they knew to keep their eyes on their leader. (See Hebrews 12:2)

Sometimes even the firmest of believers have to experience what the ancient writer called the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ As we walk blindly through this, God extends his hand to guide us beyond the grave circumstances of earth’s bounds. It is only through this ‘dying’ that we truly encounter Christ. The disciples discovered that truth.

In 1939 amidst the Nazi rise to power, King George VI of England, gave a speech in which he quoted the poet Minnie Haskins, entitled “The Gate of the Year” (1908):

I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’

And he replied, ‘Go into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God – that shall be better than light and safer haven than a known way.’

GRACE AND PEACE UPON ALL

 

Anxiety about Anxiety

Jesus said that we should not be anxious. He added that it had to do with food, clothing and long life. But he didn’t leave us with simply that command. He went on to talk about how God cares for the creation and certainly cares about us even more.

I am of the mind that his caution against anxiety was because things like fear and anxiety can keep us from following him into the experiences of life where we are needed and find the most meaning. And to the extent that fear and anxiety keep pulling us back, turning away from his call, well, it seems fitting he would keep teaching us as he did his disciples in those first years that we can place our confidence in him and keep going.

That doesn’t mean we won’t feel anxious or even dread at certain things in our lives because anxiety is a sign that we are alive and not just resigned to some kind of fate, even the fate of being guided by God.

So in this real world of our the best way to address anxiety is to admit it and keep listening to Jesus and others’ assurance of God’s care for our lives so that we can move ahead.

I have a son who this very day is having surgery. Is he anxious? You bet. Is he going through with the surgery? You bet. Because the doctors and friends and family have all told him it is going to be ok.

I have a good friend and if I tell him I am anxious about something he will tell me he understands and that he knows that within me is the great desire to follow my Lord wherever he calls me. (Hopefully) That friend encourages me and lessens my anxiety.

Let’s just saying that anxiety is the uncertainty about living in freedom. Freedom is good and sometimes it’s scary. The Israelites were given freedom to leave Egypt but with that freedom and all the miracles accompanying it they were scared to death and often just wanted to go back to Egypt where in bondage they felt safe. We cannot live in bondage anymore, not if we are going with Jesus. So let’s keep our eyes on the pioneer of our faith, the one who went through hell for us. Let’s just stay with him and do what he asks of us. He put us together and he knows how this body soul and mind works best. The Kingdom is now.

And just this morning I read this from Hebrews. Check this out:

12: For you have not come to something that can be touched, to a burning fire and darkness and gloom and a whirlwind 19 and the blast of a trumpet and a voice uttering words such that those who heard begged to hear no more. 20 For they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountainit must be stoned.”21 In fact, the scene was so terrifying that Moses said, “I shudder with fear.”

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the assembly 23 and congregation of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of something better than Abel’s does. (NET Bible)

Now when I read a passage such as that I think, ‘wow, am I in good company or what.’ So then let’s keep on keepin’ on. Jesus will be with us always.