Lord, I Need You!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our series called Needy we saw that our biggest need is to see how God is acting in our lives, to humble ourselves in order to find him, to see his face and to prepare ourselves to meet him. This is the purpose of Lent. The devil tries to lead is in another direction and to use God as a genie in a bottle and it is easy to miss how Jesus is the source of all we are and all we have.
Lent is a key time to discover how God acts differently; he is quiet and subtle, and all that he does is for our good. On the airplane I need to put the oxygen mask on myself first and then my child or else both will pass out. The same in matters of faith: I need to feed myself first before I can feed my kids or a colleague or a neighbor. Coming to this series will feed us so that we can feed others.
Our greatest need is for God; however, why don’t we sense that ourselves more clearly? Why do we wake up with a desire for coffee and not for God? The story of Abraham, the father of faith, can help us to better understand ourselves since we are like Abraham. When we meet him he is married to Sarah and is already old and childless; their situation seems hopeless without a son and a land. God makes a promise to him to make of him a great nation and person but he needs to leave his country and his father’s house. Abraham believes the promise, leaves his land and his comforts and trusts in God.
You may be in a similar situation: something fundamental is missing from your life and you want God to help you. You tried everything on your own and nothing has worked so maybe this example of Abraham can help us today. You need to know something about our God — He always accepts us in whatever way we come to him. If we are only coming because of a problem, he is cool with that. He will help you.
As we read this history of Abraham we see that he is a mess; he’s not perfect. He always second guesses God. He thinks the son will come from his slave woman; he lies about his wife when he goes down to Egypt. He is always taking things in his own hands. I find his mistakes very encouraging; he is not perfect, he screws up a lot and yet he is the father of Faith. It shows me that you don’t need to be perfect to follow God.
Eventually after many years he and Sarah have their son, Isaac. At one moment perhaps when Isaac is a teenager Abraham he is tested by God
(Genesis 22: 1-18). God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, his only son, the one he loves. Isaac on the way up to Mount Moriah asks his father as he notices the wood and the fire, where is the lamb for the sacrifice? And Abraham says: “God will provide.” Wow, what a strong faith he has by now. At the moment of sacrifice Abraham is stopped by an angel. God knows the fidelity of Abraham.
Maybe this story sounds striking to you. Through the needs of Abraham God brings him to a place of huge faith and trust and Abraham becomes the father of faith for the Jews and for us.
It is easy to miss our need for God. We can hide or meet it in other ways or God may allow some crisis or difficulty that will lead us back to him. I invite you to say many times this week: Lord, I need you! Lord, I need you!
The apostles are also recently devastated by the news that Jesus has to suffer, and die when he goes to Jerusalem. So Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the height of a mountain (Mark 9: 2-10). He takes us up also, trying to lift our sights. The hidden Messiah is manifested to them and they see that life in Christ is the fullness of life NOW. God is present to us in his glory NOW. He appears not with thunder and lightning but a light comes forth from him. It is a real event, not just words. They are transformed as Abraham was. This was a defining moment for these apostles.
Peter understands that the only thing we need to do is to listen to him. Listen to him and carry out his commands and only in this way will we shine in glory through the cross. Our glory comes from listening and obeying the One who is glorified. At the end they see only Jesus, no one else! That is all we need: only Jesus. This vision is the start of a new life for them. Christ raises them out of their fear. Let him take hold of us and lift us up.
I invite you this week to think of yourself a bit as Abraham and to ask the Lord to help you in your needs. Say often, “Lord, I need you.”