March 17, 2015: Has God Forgotten You?

Posted on : Mar 19th, 2015 | By | Category: Still Speaking

And the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.   ~ Mark 1: 13.

Four weeks ago we began the season of Lent focusing on the often overlooked words of insight found in Mark’s Gospel. They are so simple they are seldom noticed: “While Jesus was in the midst of his own wilderness experience, angels ministered to him.”

Just about everyone notices that in this wilderness experience Jesus is tempted by Satan (or “the devil” or confronted with the power and lure of “evil”) but few of us ever catch that in the midst of this stress and suffering, angels are also present – ministering to Jesus.

Joan Chittister (“chit” as in chit-chat) writes a wonderful meditation on this observation based on our current life situations. How many times when life turns difficult do we feel we’re wrestling with more demons than we can handle? Yet seldom are we aware that right there alongside of us are angels – ministering to us.

Of course I’m not talking about Renaissance chubby little cherubim; I’m talking about real angels. People or voices of insight that help us see, hear and feel that God is present with us in the midst of life’s difficult times.

In this season of Lent, it’s worth reflecting one more time about how God is with us even when we feel so overwhelmed that we can’t experience God’s presence in our lives.

Blessings to you in this season of spiritual growth,

Dan

 

Ideas in Passing

+ from Joan Chittister

THE WONDERS OF LENT

It is very easy in the midst of personal pressures and private confusions, of public stress and social challenge, to forget the wonders God has done for us. God often performs these marvels when we are least hopeful they will happen, least sure they can happen.

Out of death, after pain diminishes and numbness fades, new life so often comes forth. After the loss of one direction, another more vibrant than the first so often emerges. Beyond what the world says are our best years, comes a fullness of life unmatched by any other stage.

These are the miracles of life. These are the wonders we stumble into, so obviously not of our own making that they must be of God. These are the things that must be remembered in the midst of the daily, dull, depressing moments of life.

Good has so often come out of even more shabby parts of our own life. We retreat from religion because it disappoints only to find no better answers elsewhere and return more spiritual than ever before. We fail ourselves miserably, then find new life when we discover that people loved us for ourselves, not our images. These are the wonders of life.

It is a wholesome part of Lent, then, to remember where God has been faithful and we have strayed, how God has loved us even when we have been least lovable, least aware, least immersed in the mind of God. We need to rehearse in our hearts that it was often in darkness that God was clearest to us. For without memory, hope dies.

The creation of the Covenant [between God and Israel] did not end the struggles Israel had to face. It simply confirmed the fact that whatever fray they faced, they would not be alone.

Our own lives take the same pattern. Every life is filled with a series of small miracles designed to carry us through dark days, up steep mountains, down into the valley of death, beyond every spiritual boundary.

One of the spiritual disciplines of Lent is to recognize these. We need to see the miracles of our lives as signs along the way that no path is too twisted, no burden so heavy, no social system so impenetrable as to confound us utterly. The God who has sustained us in the past will not desert us in the present.

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