It’s been a while since I’ve visited this space. It’s been too long since I’ve come home to my words. So much is going on in my life... as with everyone. We all have our struggles and triumphs. Life flows at that rapid pace and it seems like a miracle to enjoy moments of peace.
It’s no surprise to me that since the beginning of Great Lent, I have felt tested on all sides. Those who seek Christ are an abomination to satan; his fiery darts are plentiful toward souls aware of sin. St. John Climacus said, “Let them take courage who are humbled by their passions. For even if they fall into every pit and are caught in every snare, when they attain health they will become healers, luminaries, beacons and guides to all, teaching about the forms of every sickness and through their own experience saving those who are about to fall...” If he’s right, maybe I’ll have something to offer others someday. That IS an encouraging thought.
The process of being humbled by passions is really ugly. It involves violence against the soul and not only the one humbled by such passions, but others in their wake. Passions are hot and furious and invoke haste which most often leads to folly. They are my downfall and yet I’m so slow to recognize and destroy it. In fact, sin is often welcomed and justified. Yet, if I don’t have internal peace, am I really free? Can there be true joy apart from God? How is it that saints could enter the violence of ancient Roman colosseums singing praises to God, while I - who have so much - can be despondent, lacking joy and contentment?
So far, this Lenten experience has brought a time in the desert for me. A season of dryness; a glimpse into the abyss of my heart with no reprieve. A time when I wonder where God is and if He will ever grant mercy and grace to my troubled soul. I’ve been depressed and angry and frustrated and I realize my complaints are nothing when viewed from a world perspective of what others struggle with --- things like hunger or abuse, persecution & civil war. And that makes me feel guilty and ridiculous on top of it all. Who am I to complain about a bump in the road of life when others are just trying to survive?!
Trust & Obedience are the companions pulling me through right now. When periods of loneliness come, I take heart in Psalm 23, trusting that God is there as my Shepherd, as He has proven to be so many times in the past. I’m trusting that this trial is temporary -and beneficial- and continuing in my prayers and fasting. I’m holding onto James 4:8 which tells me to draw near to God and He will draw near to me, realizing that this dynamic relationship with the Creator always involves my humility and repentance. I'm going with what I know to be Truth, in spite of feelings that tempt to lead me astray.