“Because you are his [children], God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” Galatians 4:6 Life can be very busy and distracting, with family life, work, chores, housework, projects, and various commitments. It a tremendous spiritual skill to balance all these demands on our time and keep first things first. Most of us really are not very good at this. It is a motto in my family household to say, “Do as you can and not as you can’t.” As we prepare for Easter, please do not spend time lamenting that life is too full to experience this Easter the way you would like and perhaps the way you did in past years. Rather than lamenting, spend what time you do have thanking the Father for his generous gift of his son; thanking Jesus for willingness to suffer horribly and die on our behalf; thanking the Holy Spirit for living within us that we might know the love God has for us.
Thankfulness is perhaps the greatest single hallmark of having a heart that is aligned to the heart of God. It is very easy to live thankless lives. Hardships, suffering, and injustice abounds and the world groans. And even the best of us are tempted to join in the chorus of griping.
It is precisely in this brokenness that God’s truth and grace can and do shine. Consider this, the always-healthy individual has no need of powerful medicine and no reason to know his or her doctor. God had the foresight and power to design a different world, one in which there was no sin and his Son would not have died on the cross. But God thought THIS world was the best, even though it cost him dearly. So in the hardships, in the suffering and in the context of pervasive injustice, believers seek God’s face and evidence of his gracious caring. We seek him and we find him; our hearts sing and we give thanks and praise. Consider 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18.
The YouVersion Bible verse of the day for 16 February 2017 is Proverbs 18:21. Eugene Peterson renders it this way in The Message:
Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
This very topic came up in conversation this week. A bunch of us each reflected on some hurtful words we heard as a child that shaped our self-identity and our life journey. We agreed that words are more powerful than we can even imagine. We need to exercise grace, care and wisdom. This is especially true when dealing with impressionable people (e.g., children), loved ones and those who are in our charge.
Prayer: May our Lord, who has been gracious to us, teach us to be slow to anger and inclined to lavish love on those around us. Amen.