Saturday, March 3, 2007


Hebrews 5:1-10

There are many times (like this one, where I'm writing meditations for Lent) when I wonder what I've gotten myself into, by taking jobs where I feel out of my depth. I have just begun teaching, and I am overwhelmed by the immensity of the task: the students are like so many (often unruly) sheep without a shepherd, lacking attention and love while facing great pressure in school.

Jesus was once out of his depth too, to the point that he was "overwhelmed by sorrow to the point of death*." The deep anguish of facing death and separation from the Father was only overcome by his conviction that this was the Father's will for him. It was after he prayed "not my will but Yours be done," that he could get up and face the trial and ensuing crucifixion. He was called to his task by God, a calling that is evidenced in every part of the Old Testament, from the Pentateuch to the Prophets, from the parallel with Melchizedeck to the personal assurance Jesus received at Gethsemane.

As I face day after day of being overwhelmed by clamouring students, I find the strength to continue in the task only by being sure that this is what God has called me to do right now. We are where we are because we are called there. We may be lost, wandering in the desert looking for God, or we may be certain of impending self-sacrifice - there are seasons for everything. Because Christ first "learned obedience from what he suffered," the way is open to us to follow this path of reverent submission. We, too, may be secure in our insecurities, expressing any anguish at our life situations through "prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears."

It is important to know that we do not call ourselves. For if we did, then we would be solely responsible for the hardship that follows, or for the success of the task. But we are not God. Recognizing our lives as being under His calling, we are freed to pour out our fear of failure, of inadequacy, and of pain.

*Mark 14:32

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