Friday, March 7, 2014

Lent Day 3: Who are you with?

Who are you with? And who is with you?

Last morning, I met with credentialed women (including a pastor, therapist, and missionaries), cup of tea in hand.

I had lunch and shared our new calling to Indonesia with 15 women. They've met for decades to pray for missionaries and each other. Most are in their 70s-90s. The food was home-cooked, the company warm and inviting, and the prayers sincere.

Finally, W and I relaxed with six dear friends in a nearby suburb. The candles were lit, the cheesecake looked delicious (can't have any = Lent, but it looked good!), and the conversation and prayers were uplifting.

We don't often get so many hugs and affirmations in a day. When we do, we tuck them away to treasure as memories later.

Jesus likewise drew a small circle around him. He had many followers surrounding him with their curiosity, interest in the things of God, and their needs.

His transparency - the laughter, the jokes, the crying, the preaching, the teaching - amazes me. There was no coverup or pretense. No hiding behind social conventions. He asked his closest friends, "Are you with me? Who do you think I am?"

And he felt abandoned and lonely when they fell asleep and left him to pray on his own. "Couldn't you hang out just for an hour?" he asked them. He needed their support and companionship for the final walk to crucifixion.

I wonder, would you and I have stayed awake? Would we have stayed close if our Friend was threatened and on the road to the cross? Probably not.

Would you and I have understood the enormity of Jesus' accomplishments in life and death? Could we have grasped the power of the resurrection? That's doubtful, too.

Yet Jesus invites us to live in His presence - today, tomorrow, and every day. Knowing how imperfect, how faithless, and how fickle we are, He says, "Come. Drink of the water of life. Come close. Find abundant life with Me and in Me."

Today I say, "I'm with you, Jesus. I'm in!" Then, when I dash away, distracted or look away, ashamed by my sleepiness or sin, I'm coming back.

You also? Who are you with today?

Read more:
*David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 NIV

*O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Isaiah 25:1 ESV

*For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 ESV

Moravian Prayer: God, lift us. Hold us. Support us. Empower us. Grant us the courage to throw off the shackles of sin. We long to stand before this world worthy to be called the people of God. Strengthen us, O Lord! Amen.

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