Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, April 10, 2014


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

They took me in to the operating room at midnight, on my birthday, and cut me open from Los Angeles to Boston. They found a tumor in my colon. They said I’d be dead in a year or two. I could barely move. Everything hurt. I was groggy from anesthesia. My room-mate had a chainsaw in bed with him. He kept trying to start it, without success, so he would try again. [The modern version of sawing logs.] I couldn’t sleep. It was two in the morning. And I felt strangely comforted, for I knew I was not alone. “As many people as I know, in so many time zones,” I said to myself, and to the balky chainsaw, “I’m sure there is someone praying for me even right now, in the wee hours of the morning.” I was not alone.

That’s the purpose of prayer, intercessory prayer, at least one of its purposes. It’s not so much to try to change the mind of God, perhaps not even to put “the stubborn ounces of my weight” [1] against the forces of dis-ease in the spiritual realm so that they can be felt in the physical realm. It’s not so much to cure dis-ease as it is to cure loneliness.

I have a friend who was raped repeatedly by a huge man, 6 feet 7 inches, 300 lbs. All the time he was raping her, he kept telling her that when he was through with her, he would kill her. She prayed within herself, “Lord, I know I’m going to die, and that’s okay, if you just don’t leave me. I’m ready to die if you are with me.” She heard her prayer answered. She knew she was not alone. That got her through. [2]

It’s the same as kissing a boo-boo. The kiss doesn’t take away the pain; it takes away the loneliness. Pain is a given of life. Loneliness doesn’t have to be, not as long as we pray for one another.

I lie awake for an hour each night at 2 a.m. I don’t want to. I want to sleep. But I think God has given that hour to me as my “watch in the night,” my prayer watch, my time to be sure that not one of those I love, and many I don’t even know, are without a prayer companion, even in that dark hour of the night and of the soul. If you are awake then, struggling with pain or temptation or addiction or evil, you are not alone.

John Robert McFarland

1] Bonaro Overstreet

2] The man was stopped by the police before he could carry his threat to kill her.

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where life is defined by winter even in the summer!

You don’t have to bookmark or favorite the CIW URL to return here. Just Google Christ In Winter and it will show up at the top of the page.

I tweet, occasionally, as yooper1721.

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