Friday, February 15, 2008

Giving Up

We're in the season of Lent currently. This is the forty days (not counting Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to Easter. It is a season of preparation, often including particular emphasis on fasting, prayer, and giving to those in need. We didn't observe Lent in the churches where I grew up, so it wasn't until adulthood that I started to explore and understand it. Now, though, it is becoming an important time in my life each year.

I'm using the lectionary texts for my Sunday times with God. They are intended to direct our thoughts and our souls toward God by reminding us both that we need forgiveness and that God offers it through grace. Psalm 32 was in the lectionary passages this past Sunday, and I keep thinking about it. Before the events and busyness of the day, I sat with God to ponder the wisdom of Psalm 32, then wrote what I caught of the message. Here's what I found:

It is a wonderful thing to experience God's forgiveness and transformation. When instead I stubbornly refuse the admit the sin of my actions or the sin of my heart, the weight of conviction -- a deep awareness of my separation from God -- is terribly heavy, because there is nothing which gives life more than a great relationship with God. So when I do confess my sin and am forgiven -- which scripture promises to all who repent -- it brings life. I don't want to be like a stubborn beast refusing to follow out of sheer willfulness. That's a rotten way to go through life, particularly compared to the great joy and love of being in right relationship with God.

(I'm glad you're reading, but please don't settle for my interpretation. Read this Psalm for yourself here.)

Whatever you've done, whatever you struggle with, know this -- God wants to be in a great relationship with you. Sin will prevent such relationship, but only if you allow that to happen. The Bible promises, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).

Are you still wondering? Still having some doubts? Still struggling with whether God would really forgive you? Give me a call. Tell me your story. And let's explore God's grace together.

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