Excerpt from Take Time For Him: Some More
by Angela M Jendro
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2nd Sunday of Lent
I can’t believe my eyes! Peter, James, and John must surely have thought this at the Transfiguration. They would again – though for a different reason – at the Cross; and again at the sight of the risen Lord. There, at the Transfiguration, Jesus’ divinity and Messianic promise radiated unveiled in glory. Despite the awe inspired by this divine theophany, they struggled to understand what Jesus later meant by rising from the dead.
The Apostles believed Jesus to be the Messiah and remained with Him through the entire three-year tenure of His public ministry. Nevertheless, they often underestimated Christ, and despite the innumerable miracles they witnessed firsthand, regularly regressed to earthly problem solving without calculating the supernatural aid of their divine Master. Consider the storm on the sea in which they were sure they would drown while Jesus lay asleep (Mark 4:35-41), or their concern over forgetting to bring bread on their voyage even though Jesus had just multiplied loaves and fish on two different occasions for the multitudes (Mark 8:14-21).
People often say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Yet, despite witnessing miracle after miracle in our own lives, we continue to worry anyhow. Jesus could very well say to many of us, “Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?” (Mark 8:18).
Every disciple of Christ struggles to move from the immediacy of the visible world, to consistent sight of the even deeper reality of the invisible world. Discipleship requires the movement of grace and the Holy Spirit to enable us to follow the Lord where He leads, even though it may mystify and surprise us. As God reminds us in Isaiah 55:8-9:
|“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”|
During Lent we take a step back to evaluate just how deep our faith really goes. For example, do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, trusting wholeheartedly that if you do so He will provide for everything else (Matthew 6:33)? Or do you hedge your bets, keeping up worldly-minded safety nets in case God doesn’t come through for you?
These attachments hold us back from full freedom in the Lord. Like the apostles, we worry about things like bread and tents (financial and physical security), when Christ has provided everything we need and more…including life itself and a room in His Father’s house. As we contemplate the awesome, sacrificial love of Christ, we are challenged to invite Him more fully into every aspect of our lives. Certainly He has proven that we can trust Him – the man that died and rose again for us, the man who is also God!
So, consider: What limits do you place on God? Where are the boundaries of your faith? Do you trust God to secure your eternal home, but doubt with matters related to your earthly one? Sometimes the visible world can seem more real than the invisible. The immediacy and demands of each day’s tasks can beguile our imagination into feeling as if God is remote and unrelated to the day’s needs, at least in any concrete or practical way. However, God is Lord of Heaven and Earth.
Abraham believed this to his very core. He trusted God to be Who He claimed to be. His faith was so confident that he raised his knife to sacrifice his only beloved son and his only hope of a legacy, believing God could raise Isaac from the dead if need be. St. Paul described Abraham’s magnanimous faith in his letter to the Hebrews saying:
|“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, of whom it was said ‘Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.’ He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead; hence he did receive him back, and this was a symbol.” (Hebrews 11:17-19).|
The eyes of faith see the visible and the invisible. They “understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear” (Hebrews 11: 3). Faith trusts that God is who He says He is, and who He has shown Himself to be time and again. Yes, it exceeds our understanding, because for us many things are impossible, but “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
As we journey through Lent, may we place our trust more fully in Jesus Christ. Maybe by the end, we will be somewhat closer to the confidence St. Paul expressed in his letter to the Romans:
|“If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” Romans 8:31-32|
- Sarah conceived Isaac despite being barren and past the natural age. God did this because Sarah believed in the power and faithfulness of God. “She considered Him faithful Who had promised” (Hebrews 11: 11).
- Consider God’s faithfulness. How has God been there for you when it counted? How has He answered prayers in a way you didn’t expect? How has He brought good out of a bad situation?
- Consider God’s generosity. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you look back on the day, week, year, and course of your life and see God’s blessings. Then spend a few minutes in prayers of gratitude.
- Entrust your cares to Christ. Make a list of your worries or of what’s weighing on your heart and surrender them to Him.
- Pray the Act of Faith, Divine Praises, Serenity Prayer, or Suscipe Prayer each day this week.
- Make a gratitude list each day.
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