April 7, 2007

Journal 2007 04 07

Looking at life through the crucifixion

Yesterday I experienced “the dark night of the soul”.  It was Good Friday.  Confusion, doubts, fear, anxiety.  Battles in the mind regarding life-style issues.  Anxiety over a health issue.  Doubt concerning the significance of my life and ministry.

We attended our church’s Good Friday service.  Moved by the meaningful drama contrasting the choices of Judas Iscariot and the adulterous woman whom Jesus forgave (John 8:1ff).  Spent the rest of the day at home.  Working, reflecting, but still feeling a darkness in my inner spirit.

Encouraged by an email from some dear missionary friends telling of the impact our lives and ministry had made upon the trainees last October.

In the evening I watched Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ”.  The scenes of whipping and scourging are so harsh and dreadful that I had to close my eyes in distress for some of the time.  I could hardly believe that Jesus’ sufferings were that horrific.

After the movie I felt drawn to meditate again on Isaiah 52:13-53:12.  So unbelievably shocking, how much more so the reality.

This morning I awoke with changed thoughts, changed priorities, a changed heart.  I awoke with the lingering impact of the movie upon me.  Especially the seriousness of life in light of Jesus’ sufferings.

How easily we fall prey to the deceitfulness of the world’s values and priorities.  How easily our minds become distracted and clouded over by the issues and concerns that grip our self-centred, self-focused hearts.

“Father, forgive us.  Forgive me.  I am changed as I catch even but a fleeting glimpse of my Saviour’s sufferings.  Oh, the depth of His agony.  What is the real essence of living?  O Spirit of God, help me to see my life from this point on through the eyes of Calvary.  To identify with His cross.  To have changed priorities.  Rescue me from the meaninglessness of this world’s values and priorities.  Lord Jesus, Your sacrifice for me, for us, was far, far more costly than we could ever imagine.  Yet Your cross in truth lies at the very centre of all things.  Of history.  Of the reason for my very existence.  Forgive me, gracious Master, for all the wasted years, the wasted opportunities. Holy Master, captivate my mind and my heart from this point on.  Fill my mind with visions of Calvary, of Your sufferings, of your cross.  For Your name’s sake, Amen.”

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