I've been a little worn down lately--not just physically, but spiritually, as well. Vince Lombardi once said that "fatigue makes cowards of us all." When you marry that with the idea (I think by CS Lewis, but I attribute almost any idea I like to Lewis) that courage is the chief virtue, for without it you cannot achieve any of the others, you get a potent combination--fatigue makes us (make that "me") less virtuous. In the past little while I have suffered a diminution not just of my physical strength, but my mental focus, my self-discipline, my resistance to temptation, and my patience. Yesterday, I sought help--I had a dear Christian friend (our school's chaplain) pray with and for me. Last night, I fell into bed before 8 PM, and woke up this morning at least partially rejuvenated (or at least, optimistic about the possibility of rejuvenation). Additionally, we have a long weekend at work. Some would say that the improvement in my condition is a natural result of 10 hours of sleep and a fortunate calendar coincidence. I prefer to see James 5:16 in action (the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much).
Just as an aside--I sometimes wonder what it feels like to not be a Christian. Sometimes we allow ourselves to think (wrongly, I believe) that our only two options are an abundant life in Christ (John 10:10 is one of my pet verses), or an empty, meaningless life. How many sermons have we heard where some poor soul was rescued by God from the brink of addiction or suicide? But many people I know live quite pleasant lives without faith, or with faith in something different than orthodox Christianity. How would my struggles of this week have been different without the fellowship and prayers of my friend? Would I have still gotten some sleep and felt better? Would encouragement from a secular friend have been equally helpful? I just don't know. For me, trying to imagine a life without God is like trying to envision a square circle. All I can say is, I think that those who don't have a Christ-centered life don't know what they are missing. I can imagine living in some poor 3rd-world village and being perfectly satisfied, but only because I was unaware of such cool things as air conditioning and cell phones. Indeed, all of us in the human race are in that same boat--we cannot conceive of what was lost in the Garden of Eden, and have to be as happy as we can with poor imitations.