This Lenten season seems to be my time in the wilderness. I have been plagued with one illness after another, and I wonder why. I have been weary, and I have felt empty. It seems each time I have felt a little better, and taken a step forward, it seems I have been pushed two steps back.
For a time I was disconsolate. Hopeless. Why, I wondered, had God brought me to this place? Why had I prepared for the ministry just to be cast aside? Why did volunteering two mornings in a row at the school result in a week of illness? Why did I have to be so fragile?
The answer came to me Sunday morning as I was sharing my frustration with a friend, one who readily understands because she lives with lupus. After we commiserated over our loss of energy and direction, I picked up my hymnal and saw the red ribbon that marks a special place in that book, No. 607, A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition. I purposely put the ribbon marker there because I prayed that prayer with my mentor when I started my candidacy, and I pray it every so often to remind myself of my commitment to God:
“I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”
So I am just where God put me, idle for the time, and everything is as it should be. It is my time to sit and be silent, perhaps to listen. I have been here before, and good things have come from it. Good things will come again. I just have to remember that and be glad.
Perhaps this is happening to you, too, as it is to my friend. Perhaps this time of Lent is a time for all of us to sit, and to listen.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14
Dear Comforter God: How hard it is to wait. We want to know what is to come, and we want to know now! We want to be busy for you, and we find it so hard to be still. Please help us to be patient. Grant us the peace and the patience to wait upon you, to listen for your still, small voice. Amen.