Lent daybook, 28: Everybody learns the hard way

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. (You can see previous Lent daybook 2017 posts here)

  Jesus Walking on the Water  by David Mach ( source )

Jesus Walking on the Water by David Mach (source)


Song for today: The Hard Way by Moda Spira

Listen to all of the Lent Daybook 2017 songs at this playlist on Spotify:  Lent 2017


‘I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?’ Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

*

In the evening his disciples went down to the sea, got in the boat, and headed back across the water to Capernaum. It had grown quite dark and Jesus had not yet returned. A huge wind blew up, churning the sea. They were maybe three or four miles out when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, quite near the boat. They were scared senseless, but he reassured them, ‘It’s me. It’s all right. Don’t be afraid.’ So they took him on board. In no time they reached land—the exact spot they were headed to.
— Romans 7:14-25 * John 6:16-21 (MSG)

Prayer for today: 

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice... The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory. Psalm 97:1, 6, NIV

Lord our God, we turn to you, for you are our help. Hear our prayer, we beseech you; let our cry rise to you so that you may send your mighty help in our generation. Continue to protect us from all evil, from death and destruction. Protect us because we are your children. As your children we turn to you, the almighty God, who can make everything work together for good. Be merciful to us, O Lord God. Help us for your name’s sake. Help, Lord, for you alone can bring everything to a good end. So we stand before you in Jesus Christ, holding to every word you have given us and knowing for certain that you hear us. Amen.
— Evening Prayers: For Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Spiritual practice for today:

Slowly reread the Gospel reading today. Where are you in the story? Which character do you most identify with? Why?


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2016 here)