Lent 06: Day 16

It has been a long week. Work has been an intense continuing effort and my Lenten efforts are meeting with my ongoing weaknesses. I fully understand Paul’s lament in Roman’s chapter seven where he separates his will to do the good from his flesh that falls to weakness.

I am also beginning to feel the effects of this being a solitary effort on my part, despite those of you who are sharing the journey and contributing with your comments. There is no one physically at my back, so to speak. I cannot turn to anyone and I am feeling the lack. That said, let me say again how much I appreciate the support of those who are participating with me in this discipline.

When I started this effort, I didn’t realized how much being alone might matter. It didn’t seem to matter last year during my Lenten meditations, but then I wasn’t stretching myself anywhere near the way I am this time. For the first time, I have come to realize how much I miss having a partner, another man, or even a few men, to physically share this journey. And you need to know that this insight is not just for Lent, but in my life in general. For the last year I have not had anyone to regularly interact with in a disciplined spiritual way. I can honestly say, I didn’t realize how significant that was until this moment.

So, I believe that one important result of this Lenten effort will be for me to find someone to walk with. My prayer today is that God will help me to find that person (or persons). If you are alone or lacking a close spiritual partner, my prayer is that by the grace of God you will find someone; a man for you men, and a woman for you women. That is my prayer today and may God in his compassion grant that to each of us who is in need.

2 thoughts on “Lent 06: Day 16

  1. Hello William,
    This is my first comment since coming find your weblog last week. I have recommended it to a fellow minister in Port Talbot, who I know will, like myself, appreciate the longings you express for an ever-deepening journey with Christ.

    My friend called me several weeks ago and asked if I wanted to join him in fasting for Lent. Though I’ve fasted before, I’ve never observed Lent, it not being part of my own ‘religous’ tradition. But I agreed. I’ve chosen a fast, of sorts, from the televison over this time. And of course, I watched some tele last night, paying the price in conscience this morning as I struggled with the images filling my head as I woke up. I wrote my own post, more personally removed than yours, out of my sense of need for a repentance I do not feel, but crave.

    I’m writing here because of what you say about a spiritual partner. My friend in Port Talbot has been that to me this past year or two. As an ex-pat from America, I’m removed by an ocean from several I can share Christ with on a more intimate level. I’ve been thinking of my loneliness this week, with some self-pity to be sure, and knowing that only Christ can meet that need in me which is so great it would consume a lesser friend.

    I don’t mean the flesh and blood of fellow believers isn’t necessary and satisfying for fellowship in the suffering of Christ, but I find my own sin so great, my neediness so intense, that it often drives others away. They protest in their kindness and say it isn’t so, yet I seldom find that “two becoming one flesh”, that spiritual marriage with another soul.

    Divorce, my parents and my own, drug addiction, and a generally hedonistic life have so deformed the image of God in my soul, that I wonder daily why on earth he has called me to the pastoral ministry. “Who is sufficient for this things?” Paul rightly asked us.

    Then of course, I turn once more to Christ, the true image of God, the cruciform image that God calls me to behold and in grace he gives me the gift of repentance, that “broken and contrite heart” that lives in Christ, the true Jar of Clay. I cannot even feel a sorrow for my sin until he says, “Come unto me and I will give you rest”. I find the gift is in the call to come wear the yoke of serving with him in bearing the sin that humiliates and frightens us. The power is not in the yoke but in the one who pulls a weight I cannot even imagine…

    I better stop. I’m in a mood, wanting to share it with a soul I know has “eyes that see”. Thanks, if only for opening the door where “all may come in”.

  2. I find an unwillingness or inability for us to find God (or be found by him) in praying together. There seems to be a strong resistance to the spirit of repentance and confession as a way of life rather than a mere event. I believe the “offense of the cross” is stronger than ever in the West today. The loneliness is just beginning. May God keep you until we “see him as he is”.

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