Tuesday, August 29, 2006


i hadn't heard that voice in years.

that tomblike sound that is the cavernous resonance of my friend's empty heart. i heard it again in a telephone conversation one morning in july when i was too far away to be of any use. i was at an educators' conference three provinces and several days' journey away.

i came and sat down in the morning's keynote session and began to unpack my cluttered heart on paper...

it is a powerless feeling to be separated by geography in a friend's time of need... especially when the one in need has so often been there for me when the roles have been reversed. what good is my strength now in bizarro world? and of what use is my fellowship from such a distance?

satan is a bastard, assailing so many of my friends while i am here, holidaying gaily under the thin veneer of conference attendance. is guilt my affliction? even in that i am spared, for i do not really feel guilt right now- more the obligation to feel guilt.

yet i will not thumb my nose at this season of health and freedom, for to do this is to be ungrateful- embezzling thanksgiving and worship from Almighty God who has been the author of my on-going journey towards his beautiful face.

it is good to sing in the silence;
good to dance in life's heaviness;
good to be heat in chill, light in oppression, energy in malaise.
this is to bear witness to the wonder working power of Jesus' blood in my day of reason amidst weeks of confusion and lostness- the loneliness of sin

but are my prayers of intercession enough? i mean, i'm trying to figure out what my role is in the ongoing restoration of my friend. pray? sure, but i find my prayers becoming increasingly cluttered with my own desires for his life.

i'm not sure, but i think that this type of prayer may be bordering on offensive (or at the very least, annoying) to God in the same way that the prayer of the smug pharisee, as cited by Jesus in luke 18.9-14, was.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

nope. the truth is, we are not to be each others' salvation or benchmark... Jesus is, and he will accomplish his will in all things- even actively in people where invited to do so. as my friend invites a closer walk with Jesus in this time of spiritual emptiness, i join him in this invitation from my time and place of strength with all the passion i can muster.

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Blogger SocietyVs said...

Jollybeggar, give what you can, when you can, and from wherever you are. Nothing wrong with not being able to help in someone's time of need but knowing you want to be there with them is re-assuring. Just keep in touch and give what you can.

Live prayer, if that makes sense (some have criticized me for saying the such). If you want that person to be comforted, well pray for it but also believe it...go to them when you get the chance to offer that comfort in words, touch, and compassion (even mourning). Just give what you have even if it is a voice over a phone or some words on a blog...it's better to try be there then ignore it.

Blogger Cinder said...

You have no reason to feel any guilt...you have been assailed a lot the past year and need to rejoice and rest when God gives you times of health, freedom and peace...that's your time to recoup, re-energize and to prepare for what's ahead.

It doesn't mean that you aren't there for your friend...maybe God has brought you to the place you are, not only for a reprive for you, but also so that you are able to give the strength and be there in the way your friend needs it.

I think the best thing we can do is to be on our knees and as Society said, "Live prayer". Just simply be there in the capacity you are able to and when you can't be there in the physical, be there in spirit and through prayer...just simply be open to be there in the way Christ may call on you to be.


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