God Has Come To Help His People
As I’ve mentioned, my wife and I are attempting to live a “rule of life,” practicing seven spiritual disciplines over a period of ten weeks. Currently, we are exploring the discipline of Lectio Divina or “divine reading.”
We are currently in a whirlwind of change and transition, perhaps more than we have ever experienced. We are attempting to pack a house to move to a new community, a new congregation, and to move into a house we just purchased (a new experience for us as we have lived in parsonages for the last seventeen years). Furthermore, our son graduated this past Saturday and has left us for the next few weeks to live and spend time with his best friend forcing us to experience a short period of the “empty nest syndrome” (something we are definitely not ready for). On top of that I am working on a doctoral project, we are short by over $7000 for our son’s college tuition for 2013-2014 and scholarships are hard to come by, our finances are strained as there are many expenses involved with moving and buying a home, and I am attempting to transition the churches in Rock Hall to a new pastor while at the same time attend meetings and meet leaders as I transition to the new church in Rising Sun. There are times we just sit unable to move because we are overwhelmed with the to-do list.
Yet, yesterday, with many of these things on our minds, we sat down to pray and practice Lectio Divina. The lectionary passage we drew from was Luke 7: 11-17.
In this passage, Jesus, entering town, runs into a mother, a widow, who is burying her only son. Jesus saw her and had compassion on her. He says to the young man, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
The people were amazed and shouted praises to God. They said, “God has come to help his people.” And news spread about Jesus throughout Judea.
Before reading the scripture, my wife and I prayed that God would speak to our hearts through His Word, that God would speak to our situation, our need, our fears and worries.
We then read the scripture aloud three times, pausing between readings to simply sit in silence and think about the Word we had just heard.
After the third reading and the third period of silence, we asked one another what stood out for us in the scripture.
For both of us, the phrase “God has come to help his people” stood out. In the midst of all the difficulties, stresses, responsibilities, transitions we face, God’s truth does not change or tremble. “God has come to help his people.” And my wife and I, along with you who are reading this blog, are His people. We need not be afraid.
There was one other verse that stood out for me during our time of reading, listening and reflecting. “Young man, I say to you, get up!”
I felt God saying “Stop wallowing in worry…stop being concerned with what tomorrow will bring…stop allowing the weight of responsibility and tasks that need to be done to weigh you down…”get up“…”get up” remembering that “God has come to help his people,” God has come to help you.”
“Get up” and do what you can to complete the list of responsibilities before you, but also “get up” in prayer, looking up to God, remembering that God will help you, will provide for you, will carry you if need be.
My wife and I then prayed, asking God to help us “get up” when we started to feel the world weighing down on us. We asked God to help us remember that He was alive and well, ready to help us through our difficulties, through the upcoming life transitions. We prayed that God would send His Spirit to help us trust fully in Him for all things. We thanked God for His Word and for speaking to our hearts and our situation.
Through Lectio Divina, through prayer, through intentional time focused on God Almighty, we cry out to God with the words of Frederick Littledale’s hymn:
“Come down, O Love divine, Seek Thou this soul of mine, And visit it with Thine own ardour glowing; O Comforter, draw near, Within my heart appear, And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.”
“God has come to help his people.” Just spend some time in prayer, and in reading and meditating on His Word, and you will discover this truth. “God has come to help his people.” Wow! What a privilege! What a blessing! What great comfort!
Rev. Drew M. Christian