Yesterday’s prayers

“The pain of today is the answer to yesterday’s prayers”

I have heard this said many times and have often quoted it in pastoral work, yet in the midst of my own trials the counsel is far from my ears. All I can pray and think about is how to end any pain and bring comfort to my heart.

It is Good Friday, I’m thinking about the death and resurrection and the sufferings of Christ and I hear the gentle whisper of my Lord ‘the present sufferings are the answer to your prayers. You have prayed for revelation of the cross, you expected an intellectual and heart felt response. You didn’t expect an experience that would write itself on your heart more powerfully than a whisper in your heart and a wave of emotion.’ I stagger as I feel pages of revelation are suddenly presented to me. I see the rejection of my Lord, I see his suffering, I see the abuse he suffered, I see his betrayal, I see the lies and the false witnesses…I see the parallels in my own life. And I long that my response would be as His. For he brought no accusation to the courts, he did not defend his position, he only affirmed it. Like a sheep before it’s shearers so was he silent. I see the things that I have gone through, though not worthy to be compared to his, I see them as the Lord forging revelation in my heart and my soul. I wish I could say that it was done. I wish I could say that it is Sunday…but I know Sunday is coming. Sunday is always coming. And though for some, Sunday may eventually be departure from this world, in many cases there is Sunday waiting for us. But we have to embrace Friday first.

We are crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. This is an opportunity to shine more brightly, to speak more clearly and to live with a greater resonance of who He is. But I know that how I behave on Friday affects Sunday, and it seems like an eternity between the two! Not knowing what Sunday will look like, I am trusting, hoping and believing. But also dying, crying and confused.

For I know my responses have not been as Christ’s. I can’t say that no accusation was on my lips. There is still a fight in me. But I do know the fight isn’t what it used to be. I increasingly come back to the scripture, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me’. I say it more as a prayer and a declaration to my heart in the moments when the voice inside rises up with opinion and a want of justice. A reminder to my soul to submit to His lordship and the journey that He has me on.

Let us humbly recognise we are all on the journey and our responses are not always as Christ’s would have been…but my hope is that my responses increasingly will be like His. Let us embrace our Fridays, longing for our Sunday’s. Trusting. Hoping. Believing our forerunner has a made the way and he bids us to follow.