Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lent: The Good Ache

I've got an aching heart this second Wednesday of Lent.

Aching for the world of hurt right outside my front door, my office door, my church door.

Not to mention the sorrows inside those doors.

All around me are souls at unrest.  If we could see the invisible, we'd find there are so many people walking about in chains that we would think Charles Dickens was a prophet when he invented Marley's Ghost in his great imagination.

I get shocked in this cold weather when I touch something that is charged.

I get a shock to find out a co worker lived in a foster home because her mother was schizophrenic and her father couldn't care for her and her brother.  Another jolt when I discover a friend's son has been arrested.  Zap...a woman sobs in the waiting room, terrified of a diagnosis.  A friend's sister suddenly loses her job because of her lingering post stroke symptoms.

And the secrets...mental illness, domestic abuse, alcoholism, abortions...You could curl up in the fetal position and stay in bed forever.

Cheery little post, isn't it?

But really, it's getting to the end of ourselves with the overwhelming darkness of the fall that is the heart of Lent.  We fall to our knees in repentance, in desperation...but in HOPE.  Though we do not have the strength to remedy the ills of this world, Christ has the power to redeem it.

"In this world you will have trouble.  But take courage, I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Pain is a powerful thing.  People with leprosy can't feel pain, and their infections end up killing them. They don't notice the destroyer.  They never saw it coming.

The ache brings me to the doctor of my soul.  In fact, I get more afraid when I feel nothing.  Those times I am cold and numb to the wretched state of a suffering world are the times I most need the powerful gift of repentance.

Jesus turned his face into the wind of a depraved and pained world.  He tenderly received the outcasts and the losers as friends.  Children of schizophrenics, parents of outlaw kids, stroke victims...these folks he relieved of their sense that they simply didn't belong.  He continues to do that to this very hour...and he does it through a motley crew...that would be you and me.

The Savior saw a hurting world and dived in to save.  He wants us to do the same.  All the while He knows we have no strength to do this.  He understands our utter sense of being overwhelmed, unequal to the task...even the task of trusting Him in our own suffering.

He gives us more grace.  He supplies, one moment at a time, the necessary strength to do the next right thing, think the next right thing, and carry on.

Lent brings us low to raise us up.  In humbling ourselves and confessing the truth of our empty ways, we open our clouded windows to the light and life of an ever giving God.  The ache is good if it leads to the bowing of the knee.

So today, I know there will be an ache. But there will also be hope.  And, God help me, courage to extend a hand of tenderness to help some chained soul out of some prison of shame.

This is the way for the people of the Way. Ask Him for that one chance to extend mercy today.

There are only about a million opportunities on every inch of this earth.

Let the ache lead you to the cross.  Let the cross lead you to the many.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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