Skip to main content

Hard Spiritual Lessons

My evening prayers included this:

God, our loving Father, you forgive our every ill.
You forgive our guilt; lead us to mend our ways.
You fill our life with good things; fill us with love and mercy toward one another.
You remember we are dust; raise us with all our beloved dead to life in Christ.

All good - all hard.  We are guilty of sin against God and others, and we need forgiveness.  We need to be merciful to others - even when we don't want to.  We have to face our mortality, and the mortality of those we love.

Sometimes, it seems that ALL our spiritual lessons are hard ones.  At least that's the way I've been feeling lately.  Life itself is burdensome, and God seems far away.  Faith is a quickly unraveling string, and my hold is tenuous.

What to do?  I don't know what others do when they are close to despair, but I go through the motions.  I pray when I don't feel like praying.  I sing when my throat is parched.  I praise when my heart is heavy.  I call upon the Lord, even when I am sure He is so far away He couldn't possibly hear me.

I don't do it for God's sake.  He doesn't need a thing from me.  I do it for my sake, to remind my head what my heart knows: that my God is not only near, He is united with me in my suffering, as I try to unite myself to His.  I stand at the foot of His cross, and He stands at the foot of mine.  Even when I cannot go another step in faith, He bears me up.

Hard spiritual lessons.  I beg for mercy in the smallness of my faith.  I hold tight to that unraveling thread of faith, knowing that He holds the other end, and will not let me go.

Hard spiritual lessons.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…