Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

READING


Old Testament: Jeremiah 17:19-27
Morning Psalms: Psalms 97, 99, 100
New Testament: Romans 7:13-25
Gospel: John 6:16-27
Evening Psalms: Psalms 94, 95

DEVOTIONAL


“Wretched Man that I am! Who will save me?”
(Paul, Romans 7:24)

Paul’s plea is, I believe, no mere rhetorical exercise. When he wrote this, he truly felt disheartened by his ongoing struggle with sin. The scars of that ongoing struggle were likely the same that many of us bear and deal with on a daily basis: despair, discouragement, shame.

The last 5 years have been a struggle with advancing middle age. I now medicate for hormone levels, blood pressure, and depression. They are almost certainly inter-related in a complex way, and finding balance in them, as with other types of balance in life, is tricky and probably never final. I have made painfully slow progress in some spiritual disciplines; each Lent seems to offer an opportunity to ratchet up the ladder. But I keep my expectations contained.

Paul’s affirmation of the saving facts of Christ’s sacrifice probably represents something he had to tell himself repeatedly: Thank you Lord, you’ve done for me what I could never do for myself. I am eternally grateful that your love for me, even when I didn’t deserve it, is greater than any failing in me.

So long as I’m walking on earth, my struggles will continue. I am bound to have more days when I wonder, even aloud, what good may be served by my perseverance in the face of my past record of defeats. At such times I will do well to say, Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, because what I could never do He has done once for all and for all time. And the blackness and bleakness of my despair will lift so that I can become a little more like Him.
MLB (3/12/13)


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