2nd Monday of Great Lent Devotional
8 Come near
to God and He will come near to you.
We have reached the 2nd week of the
Great and Holy Lent and some of us are already weakened. Some may have given up
and thrown in the towel, others may have kept strong in the face of defeat.
Whatever the situation may be, we are getting closer to the Lord’s passion.
On this particular day, we are given the reading
of St. James 4:7 – 5:6. I’d like to highlight 2 key parts from this passage as
they are quite beautiful in the grand theme of lent, repentance. In the 2nd
week of Great Lent, the key focus is restoration.
Restoration of the soul, of the heart, and of the mind. Though this lent is
meant for discipline, focus and repentance, we should also give importance
restoration of our spiritual lives.
In this portion we are told, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” How many of us go
to God just as a friend? How many of us go to Him without asking for something?
In our daily lives when we pray, most of us are asking Him for help, asking
Him for strength, asking Him for guidance; we are always asking
Him. Take a step back, end our requests to Him, and rather talk with God. That
is essentially what prayer is, talking with God. But we have made prayer into
an institution to which we ask for help. Though it is right to ask God for
help, we should always make room to just talk with God.
The purpose of this lent is to discipline our
lives to live without luxuries, live without worldly pleasures. But with that
loss, we should be gaining our spiritual lives back, we should be gaining God.
In our day to day lives, we build a bond with the world, a bond without God. We
make desires of the flesh and desires of world our friends and forget God. Our
purpose this lent should be to build a bond with God, a friendship with God. He
was there when we were born, He has seen our every flaw and still loved us, and
He has gotten us through the toughest of trials without a scratch. How we can
go on living our lives without recognizing we have an amazing friend like this
in our lives?
In Isaiah 49: 15-16 it is written:
“I will not forget
you. I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”
How amazing is it to think that God has known us
from the beginning and He alone knows our end? He has written our name on His
palms before we were even born. He has accounted for the
faults we will have, the trials we will go through, our triumphs, our failures,
our life. How can we pass up not having a friendship with the one person who
will never leave?
After the Holocaust, when the press went in to go
see the holding cells and prisons of the Jewish population, they found the
following writing on one of the walls:
“I believe in the sun,
even when it’s not shining
in love, even when I’m alone.
I believe in God, even when He is silent.”
Many of our friends are actual, physical people. We can touch
them, hear them, see them. Just because we can’t see Him, hear Him, or touch
Him, we must believe. Believe that He is and always will be our dearest and
closest friend. When we are brought to our knees, God will be there to comfort
us. No earthly possessions, no mortal man, no pleasures can comfort us the way
Christ can. When we hear nothing from Him during our troubles, know He does not
want us to suffer. God never gives us anything in our lives we cannot overcome.
He may be silent but He will never forget us.
I’d like to conclude with this passage from Jeremiah 29:
‘For I know the plans I
have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans
to give you hope and a future. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If
you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.’
Jesus Christ gave His life so that we too may be
inheritors in the Kingdom of Heaven. His sacrificial love is what set us free
from Satan. We must trust that whatever trouble, whatever situation, whatever
turmoil we go through in life, Christ is our friend and He will not abandon us.
The passage above states “..pray, I will listen.” As we continue in this Lenten
season towards the Cross, towards repentance, we must turn lose our worldly
passions and gain friendship. We must gain a friend to whom we can talk to. We
must gain Christ. We must pray, and He will listen.
Guide us O Lord, in our spiritual walk to Your Cross. Show us
Your friendship Lord. You have seen us before we were even made, You have
accounted for our every moment in life. Help us to lead our lives in the way of
Your liking. May we continue to grow in Your love and friendship. Amen.
By Renju Padiyara
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