Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

Call to Worship Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to His holy name!

Contemplation Jesus saw it coming. Luke says, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, He set his face to go to Jerusalem." Knowing what had to happen, Jesus stayed the course. A serious reflection on His suffering must account for the fact that our Lord looked forward, never back. The Israelites experienced this in the forty years they spent wandering in the desert. They argued with Moses, idealizing their life in Egypt and questioning the goodness of the Lord. They complained about the Lord’s provision, not because he didn’t provide, but because they weren’t content with what He provided. 

The paradox of suffering is that it is actually a gift – one we might like at times to give back – but a gift nonetheless. God gives us suffering as a way of giving us Himself, for it is in our suffering that we become acutely aware of His presence and power. Hardship empties us of our self-reliance so that we might soak in what it means that we are children of God, chosen by God and in covenant relationship with Him—the very covenant purchased by Christ’s blood.

So last night I woke up. And as I am wont to do in the dark quiet hours, I walk through the twenty-third psalm, repeating its familiar peaceful refrain much like the Grandmother in Heidi.

And for the very first time I realized the significance of I shall not want, along the same lines of Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

My shall is a decision. It is an auxiliary verb to demonstrate determination. It is not speaking of His comfortable cozy provision by brightly sunlit meadows lying by a gurgling brook, free from all of life’s circumstances.

I shall not want because He is enough.

No other gods before Him.

Prayer Fill me with thy Spirit that I may be occupied with His presence. May His comforts cheer me in my sorrows, His strength sustain me in my trials, His blessings revive me in my weariness, His presence render me a fruitful tree of holiness, His might establish me in peace and joy.