I have been getting a lot out of "Journey to the Cross" this week, and I want to share the 3 devotional excerpts that have really stood out to me. They are all written by Bruce Reyes-Chow:
There are no precise step-by-step directions for how to build God's perfect world. We are only given wonderfully complex commands like "love one another as you would love yourselves" and "love God with all your heart, mind and strength."
Great. What do you do with that?
What we do is this: Live our lives in God, with those words freeing us to be as creative as God has been with God's own creation. Stars, mountains, songs and creatures - God has created amazing things out of nothingness. We too must strive to do the same. Out of what often feels like a world overwhelmed by despair and pain, we live lives that are overflowing with hope and healing. It is that hope that allows us to be creative beyond our own imaginations.
Our world does not embrace "failure" well. While there is merit in affirming a job well done, too often we become owned by those accomplishments in our lives and begin to be driven to achieve more and more. We begin to live our lives held captive by our tasks, achievements, and successes and we lose sight of the belief that in fact, we do not belong to those things, we belong to God.
There is no more evident time to remember that than when we fail or have to come face to face with something in our lives that we do not like. When the accolades have stopped, when we realize that we are simply human or when we come to the painful realization that we cannot do everything, that is when God reminds us once again that even in the depths of our despair, God is there.
We need not be ashamed when we cry out to God. There is no weakness, no failure, no shame. In fact it is a show of faith and strength that we can turn away from the ways of the world, which demands that we try to be God, and boldly proclaim that we belong to God. What a gift, a joy, and a relief!
Dear God, at your earliest convenience, could you please send me a detailed list of your plans for my life and for the world? That would really help me out and I promise I won't tell anyone. Thanks!
Oh if only life were so easy and God were so clear! Sure, God is pretty evident when you see a beautiful sunset or a child born or when a stranger offers words of encouragement. But that day-to-day life thing - not so much.
A hallmark of our faith is that at the end of the day, we are claimed by God to be part of God's unfolding of life and creation. We are not always going to know how we fit into that unfolding, but we believe that we are somehow part of its realization. While this could be daunting and overwhelming, it is also a chance for us to embrace the art and dance of faith. We struggle with God's word to us through scripture to guide our lives. We navigate the nuances of communal discernment. We come to God in prayer, lifting our voices to God, seeking to know God's will. What an amazing gift of faith we have, knowing God so deeply that we trust God without even knowing where God may be leading us!
Allow me the wisdom to trust in the unfolding of your hopes in my life and in the world. Amen.
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." - 1 Corinthians 15:57-58