Ever forward, even as the path narrows, toward the light
The season of Lent is a time where we draw closer to God in remembering the life of Jesus.
Some people focus on self-denial in an effort to identify with the time Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Others give up things such as Facebook or television to find more time to spend in reading Scripture or in prayer. Others give up meals out and donate the money to a worthwhile charity.
The point of all of this is to grow closer to God.
As we pursue our spiritual journey, we sometimes encounter things in our walk that can get us off track or take us away from finding peace in the presence of God. As long as everything goes according to plan we are just fine, but when things go wrong it becomes more difficult for us to stay in this place of peace and contentment.
In our community, there have been some incidents that have left many people experiencing fear and anxiety about their safety. It is impossible to experience fear and trust at the same time. We can sit in church and talk about putting our trust in God, but when we hear news reports about bad things happening or we experience those things first hand, we lose the ability to trust and instead focus only on what we can do to protect ourselves.
How do we encounter a world where sin and destruction sometimes seem to rule? We have to remember who we are in God and that our work as Disciples is to spread God’s love throughout the world, not to spread fear and panic.
While we need to make sure that we are being safe and setting appropriate boundaries, such as keeping our doors locked and being aware of suspicious behavior, we can’t let our fear keep us from walking our Christian life. If we withdraw from our community and let our lives be ruled by fear, we are walking in the opposite direction toward peace with God. Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1).
Walking in the light of God means trusting God’s promises that we are not alone and that God is with us. We remember these promises by reading scripture everyday and finding comfort in God’s word. “I sought the Lord and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). Many of us can recite the 23rd Psalm from memory. “Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
When you read the news and hear disturbing things, remember that you are a child of God. You are not alone and there is no need to live in fear.
Meanwhile, continue walking in that light. Help feed the hungry. Give time to worthy missions and charities. Be involved in a community of faith. Grow closer to God through prayer and scripture. Visit the sick and the people in prison.
Pray for the transformation of our community and ask God to guide your heart and your feet in being part of that. Love your neighbor and trust in God. Your heart will be so full there won’t be any room for fear.