Devotion – July 11 – “It Is Enough”
On Wednesday, I told you that there is great pain in absorbing the pains, hurts and anger in the world. But I also mentioned there is good news in doing this. The good news comes when we take all that we have absorbed and take it to God in prayer. For in prayer we encounter Jesus, and the guaranteed promise of hope. This hope tells us that in time all things will be made well. In Christ, we take the overwhelming burdens and give them to the only one who is more powerful than what we present to him in this prayer.
I want to share a moment of my life with you. It was deeply profound and meaningful to me. I was at the “Transforming Center” going through the two-year program. The theme of the current retreat was “Flesh and Blood Spirituality: Honoring the Body as a Spiritual Discipline.” The evening before, we had gone through a lot of initial material. Later that night, alone in my room, I began processing the teachings and I found myself getting upset. By morning it had grown to anger.
What had frustrated me was the fact that while we were talking about ways to take care of our bodies, I couldn’t help but think about Ann who has dealt with cancer twice already. I thought about all the people in our parish over the last quarter of a century who found their bodies failing them in one way or another. I felt hopelessness overtake me as I concluded it didn’t seem taking care of the body was a winning plan, as suffering and death seemed to rule the world with reckless, and random, abandon.
Before the morning sessions began, there was a half hour optional silent prayer time in the chapel. The group I was with always took advantage of this time. As I was praying, sharing my feelings with the Lord, I remembered saying, “Lord, I’m thinking of all the people who suffer and die, and I think it stinks.” Not the most holy prayer, but it was at least honest.
During this time, I raised my head and spent time looking at the colorful statuette of Jesus on the cross, above the altar. Blood is depicted dripping from his hands and feet. His body is bent in anguish. As I starred at the crucifix, I felt I heard the soft voice of Jesus say in my soul, “You’re right. It does stink.”
As I continued to look at the artwork, I got the sense that Jesus wanted me to know that he would see me, and all of us, through the pains. That’s when it hit me in a new way, that Jesus was on the cross for just that reason! Jesus went to the cross to die for all the sin and pains in the world, so that it wouldn’t win. I felt my soul fill with the presence of God, and I heard him say in my soul, “Is that enough for you?’
I found myself in the position of Job at that moment. Job never got an answer from God about why there is suffering and or why sin can run so deep into our human psyche. But God did let Job (and now me) know that he would take all that pain and sin into himself and bring healing.
At that moment I could imagine all the hurting – people facing war, violence, racism, sickness of body and soul – slowly walking up to the cross, their bodies are bent over due to the crushing burdens they were carrying. Once at the foot of the cross, they take another step and actually pass through the cross that Jesus hangs on, and when they come out the other side I see they are all dressed in new garb and completely healed.
Was that revelation enough for me? ... I have prayed that moment out many times since that day and I have come to the conclusion, “Yes, it is enough.”
As we absorb the pains of a pandemic, racial unrest, terrible leadership by our government leaders across the board, and across the isles, leaving us floundering without a plan, remember this: it is not our job or fix all the problems. Our job is to carry it all to Christ and trust that is enough for the moment. That is what we can do today – that is enough.
~ God bless us all, Dan
P.S. Next Wednesday, we will look at how these prayers lead us to action.