Not a Good Dream
I dreamed it again last night. We were with good friends gathered around a big cafeteria-style table in a restaurant.
And then I realize: None of us are masked! Oh no!
In my dream, I remind myself it’s been almost a year since we’ve eaten inside a restaurant (true). And we’re blowing it now?
I find Jeff at the counter and say, “Get our food to go. We’re eating outside.”
I wake up.
Will these dreams about face coverings go away once the pandemic is under control and we’re not wearing masks everywhere?
The middle-of-the-night worries are still the worst. That’s when I think my craziest thoughts.
I’ve been filling in a workbook on anxiety the past few months. It asks me lots of personal questions that require me to dig and dig.
For answers, I often look to my nighttime worries. They are samples of my irrational worries. In the light of the morning, I can rationalize them away.
But still. I know they’re there. I need to confront them. Looking for the ugly isn’t a fun endeavor.
But if it serves a good purpose, I’ll entertain the idea.
Mourning Causes You to Cry Out
That’s what Paul David Tripp is inviting us into in his 40-day Lenten devotional, Journey to the Cross.
“Mourning does something wonderful to you. The sad realities that cause you to mourn also cause you to cry out for the help, rescue, forgiveness, and deliverance of a Redeemer. Jesus said that if you mourn, you will be comforted.”
Well, if you put it that way, it sounds good. Who doesn’t want help, rescue, forgiveness, and deliverance? Sign me up for comfort.
I want all the blessings God wants to give me.
Avoid Spiritual Envy
But Tripp also reminds us that we don’t need to compare our blessings with others’ blessings.
“We tend to esteem the spiritually rich as well. These are people who we think have risen above the normal things that we all tend to struggle with, who seem somehow to be easily and independently righteous and just don’t seem to require God’s rescue much.”
It’s easy to fall into spiritual envy. To be jealous of those who don’t have the same weaknesses that we do. Who don’t worry. Who don’t know what anxiety is.
But we all have something we struggle with. Maybe my struggles and your struggles are different, but we both need Jesus. We both benefit by sitting near the shadow of the cross to find true goodness and deliverance and love.
This journey to the cross may seem discouraging when it prompts us to see our crazy thoughts and our repetitive failings. But it is also joyful when we encounter Jesus along the way and he renews our hope again.
This Is a Season
In real life, I haven’t yet forgotten to put my mask on wherever I go. It’s no big deal anymore. Hopefully my nighttime dreams about it will fade away soon.
Because this pandemic is a season. Just a season. And like the season of Lent, it “forces us to face and to answer [questions] because Lent isn’t for the rich; it is for those who are poor.”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
Facing our spiritual poverty is never fun. But it’s profitable. During Lent, let’s journey to the cross to find Christ’s riches.
Let it be. I accept my poverty. And I welcome his kingdom through it.
My thanks to Crossway for
the review copy of this book
- On the Blog—February 2021
- Why Don’t You Do Something? Maybe You Already Did