Welcome to my Lenten reflection for the second week of Lent. (To view previous reflections refer to the Lenten Retreat 2009.)
Each week’s reflection is drawn from a chapter of Days of Deepening Friendship. While it is not necessary to read these chapters to participate, it will likely enhance your experience.
This week’s reflection is based on Chapter 8.
Let’s get started.
View this week’s video reflection:
Listen to this week’s audio reflection: Second Week of Lent: “Why is it hard to come to God?” (Audio)
If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Romans 8:31–32
It’s not that hard to admit that we need God’s help in this life. Only the most proud or the most foolish believe they are truly self-sufficient. Yes, we need God. Yes, we can seek from God whatever we need—help, comfort, or guidance.
But actually taking the step toward God can be not only difficult but complex. A lot of things can get in the way.
Pain. It’s possible to be in so much pain that we cannot move. We are paralyzed, numb, almost without sense. So we do nothing but remain in our deep hurt.
Shame. We can’t come to God and tell lies at the same time. This spiritual process requires that we face our embarrassments, shortcomings, failures, and sins, and the shame of all this holds us back.
Anger. It really is all right to come to God angry, but many of us don’t feel that it’s all right. We’re deeply disappointed in God—for not rescuing us from a situation, for allowing us to suffer loss, for not giving us what we wanted—and that anger prevents any steps in God’s direction.
Fear. We may fear punishment. We may fear God’s disapproval. We may fear that God won’t act or say what we’re hoping for. And we may fear that, in coming to God, we’ll need to change in some way.
How do we overcome these obstacles? How do we come to God when pain, shame, anger, or fear is blocking the path?
Remember one simple fact: God is for us, not against us. God waits for us, eager to help with our pain, shame, anger, or fear. The only thing to do is step forward and bring to God whatever burden hinders us.
A Spiritual Exercise for This Week
Go for a walk and imagine Jesus walking with you (because he is). Your main topic for conversation is the difficulty you sometimes have in coming to God freely and with hope.
Is there pain that uses up your energy and gets in the way of any forward movement?
Are you ashamed or disappointed in yourself? Can you talk with Jesus about this, and then listen to his response?
Is your heart filled with anger—at yourself, others, or God? If so, can you bring yourself to voice that anger and open it up for discussion?
What is your deepest fear concerning your relationship with God? Try to describe this fear to Jesus, and then listen for his response.
I invite you to post your comments and questions and I will respond throughout the week. I will also be available every Wednesday from 10 am-Noon CST to communicate with you in real time. Don’t forget to join me next week (I’ll send a reminder).