Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Genesis 50:15-26; Psalm 119:121-144;
1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Mark 8:11-26

Verses 121 to 144 of Psalm 119 are part of a prayer characterized by utter dependence on God. Again and again, the suppliant speaks to God in terms that show how much he requires him, not merely as a supplemental stabilizing force in his life, one more aspect to get right on his way to earthly happiness, but as the very breath sustaining his life, without which he would be completely and entirely lost. Indeed, his reliance on and love for God draw him into a spiritual quest to obey God perfectly. The suppliant understands that the only way to fully obey God is to understand what is required of him. Knowing that such intimate knowledge of God’s mind is beyond his own faculties to discover, he can only pray that God reveal it to him.

The position of the suppliant is the position that must ultimately be assumed by the true Christian. The true Christian must not only depend on God for every scrap of bread and every sip of wine that nourish the body, but must also depend on God for shelter from the many dangers this earthly world puts before us, for purpose in an otherwise (nihilistic as it sounds) purposeless life, and from salvation from the sin intrinsic in being human. In addition, the true Christian yearns for spiritual truth, that he may better carry his cross and follow Jesus.

There are countless books on how to grow spiritually. I cannot paraphrase them in three sentences, nor can I give you a simple solution on how to become spiritually mature because there is no simple answer. There is no guaranteed method, no quick fix, no shortcut to God. But perhaps the suppliant got it right when he prayed simply and clearly and concisely from his heart, in terms born of absolute sincerity, “Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live.” God, grant those who love you understanding that, together, celebrating in your holy presence, we may live eternally.

Kate Strong

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