Lenten Reflection Day #16


A couple of days ago I talked about the parallel between the disciplined training of the Olympic athlete and the spiritual disciplines that we are called to engage in to form our inner life.  Jesus would have been shaped by a life time of praying the 150 psalms.   In turning again and again to these words his inner life was shaped in obedience to his Abba (Daddy) God, in whose hands he daily placed his life.

We can only imagine, for instance, how many hundreds of times Jesus prayed these words from Psalm 139:

Where can I go from your spirit?
   Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
   if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
   and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,

   and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
   and the light around me become night’,
even the darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
   Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written

   all the days that were formed for me,
   when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
   I come to the end
—I am still with you.

There is something both comforting and unsettling about God’s knowledge of us.   We are here by God’s will, not by mere chance.   On the one hand, this knowledge means there really is no need to stress over our lives; God already knows where our lives are headed, and God will be there with us in every step we take.   And yet there may well be times we want to flee from such knowledge == to be allowed to simply live our lives as though nothing much mattered.   

But our lives truly do matter.   God attended to every aspect of our formation in our mother’s womb. 

And we cannot be taken out of God’s light, no matter how dark the world’s darkness may seem, or how deep our own personal sense of darkness may become.    We still belong to God.

God whose knowledge is infinitely greater than our little knowledge, we would ponder your greatness, and trust in your grace.   Give us the courage to embrace your presence in our lives,  that instead of our lame attempts at fleeing from you, we might instead walk consciously with you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

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