Praying between Helplessness and Hope

We use the word “excruciating” to describe some pretty awful life events, but the word has special meaning for Christians because it is derived from the Latin “crux,” which means “cross.” When we suffer physical or emotional pain and call it excruciating, we might bear it with more poise and courage by reflecting on the last events of Jesus’ life. He bore suffering in every way as we do, the book of Hebrews tells us, but even our worst suffering is mild compared to his.

During Lent we remember that he continues to suffer with us and to help us bear our burdens. Amazingly enough, his ending can become a new beginning for us. I say amazing because this part of the story comes to us so unexpectedly. We think we’re all alone. We think that all we have to draw upon are our own paltry resources and the fluctuating goodwill of others. We think that our problems have become too big and overwhelming and that they’ll surely crush us.

In this situation, we find ourselves praying with Jesus in Gethsemane and vacillating between helplessness and hope. This Sunday, we’ll go with him there and remember that somehow God met him in his time of agony. Somehow he found new resolve and the strength and commitment to continue his journey to the cross no matter what.

I hope your journey will lead you to Community Church of Providence this Sunday. We’ll continue our reflections on how Christ’s ending can be our beginning. May you experience his peace and power in new and transforming ways.

With love and blessings,

Evan Howard,