Last night at our small group meeting, we shared our respective experiences in fasting this week. Some of the descriptors of this week’s experience: weakness, distraction, lack of focus in prayer, bad mood, temptation . . . are not words typically used to describe a successful program. They certainly are not words of advertisement we would use to encourage others to join us. Why would anyone want to sign up if the results look like that!
And yet, I believe these descriptors somehow ring true and echo the ministry experiences we find in Scripture. In our epistle reading for this coming Sunday (from 2 Corinthians 6) the apostle Paul writes, ” . . . as servants of God, we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses . . .” (6:4) The list goes on, but it only gets worse before it gets better. In fact, this list is just one of several in this epistle (See also chapters 4 and 11.) that outline experiences no one today would ever include in a ministry recruitment brochure.
So, do we give up? Are we doing something wrong? We are inclined to ask such questions, especially in a world that demands instant success.
Last night, someone remarked that we must be doing something right! And I think that is likely true. So, do not give up. Do not lose heart! As we enter the second week of Lent and continue to fast and pray, let us heed the exhortations we read in 2 Corinthians, written by one who had every reason to give up:
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (4:18)
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (11:30)
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (12:9-10)
Blessings in the coming week. I hope to see you at Christ Church on Sunday!
The Lord be with you,
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