Since the children have flesh and blood,
he too shared in their humanity
so that by his death he might break the power
of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil –
and free those who all their lives
were held in slavery by their fear of death.
For surely it is not angels he helps,
but Abraham’s descendants.
For this reason he had to be made like them,
fully human in every way,
in order that he might become
a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God,
and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted,
he is able to help those who are being tempted.
– Hebrews 2:14-18 NIV
Saints of all ages have made it their business to be present to God, and out of this has sprung their truest vocations. They become, therefore, the ones who blaze spiritual trails for others. Every generation of Christians must courageously face dark wildernesses, peculiar to the time in which they live. These ‘perilous woods’ through which a path must be hewn are made up of the choking undergrowth and dark flowering of the sins and blindnesses of generations past, and they always stand as formidable roadblocks to the next generation of Christians. The saints who make it their full intention, therefore, to practice the Presence (however they term this) become the courageous pathfinders, whether for the many or the few. And in the doing of this, no matter how much they suffer, they are to be accounted doubly blessed, for they have discovered what they were born to do.
Becoming a radiant, whole human being is the most glorious privilege in the world. The Holy One is whispering even now into the heart of every man, woman, and child, “Become!” To answer Him is sternly magnificent, rigorous indeed.
Somewhere inside, each one of us knows we were made for such greatness. Facing the desert between who we are now and who God is making us to be takes great courage; so let us cheer one another on! Let us renounce unbelieving sympathy that would excuse any child of God from confronting his or her own crisis in separation. Let us provoke one another with confidence in the One who does all things well: my God in His steadfast love will meet me; your God in His steadfast love will meet you.
Gracious Father, open our eyes to the unseen real, to the springs that are welling up under the surface of every life’s desert. Forgive any trespass into another’s loneliness; we entrust these dear ones to You now and ask You to cleanse them from our sin in Jesus’ name. Stir in us the longing to become, and to embolden others to become true, solid, and vibrant. Pour out Your gifts within and among us, quickening faith, hope and love, and put Your words of blessing and encouragement in our mouths. We thank You in advance for the lavish, fruitful gardens You are growing in our hearts. To You be all honor, glory, and praise. Amen.
1. Reaching Out, p. 22
Painting: August Macke, 1887-1914, Vegetable fields [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the books and ministry of Leanne Payne