Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fourth Wednesday of Lent

Today’s passages from Isaiah 49 and Psalm 145 each point to the relentless command that God wields over our days, and the responsiveness He promises to all those who call on Him “in truth.”

Thus says the LORD,” writes Isaiah. “In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you…For he who pities them leads them and guides them beside springs of water. I will cut a road through all my mountains, and make my highways level.”

The Psalmist also declares: The Lord is gracious and merciful. The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down… The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

These are words to feed upon in all searching and trust, particularly in seasons of wilderness, loss or exile. Even if present circumstances deny a felt experience of deliverance, the resume of this LORD is one who walks with His people through every valley and desert, and will have the last glorious word.

But the third reading from today, the one taken from the Gospel of John, adds an even deeper dimension to the trust-fall posture we’re invited to take as we call upon God’s grace in our lives. Here’s Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders, who were questioning his Sabbath healing practices:

“Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. …I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” (From John 5)

I cannot do anything on my own…I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.

Jesus himself was utterly dependent on his Father! Though he was God Incarnate, the nature of his union with the Godhead was such that nothing could be done outside the Father’s will. This is the profound and perfect embodiment of calling upon Him “in truth.”

How does this posture of both dependence and love for the will of God help you see your circumstances today? How does it mirror some dynamics in your human relationships, and how does it challenge them? How does it turn you back to the Lord who is at once inviting you to fall into His tender mercies, even as He desires to work His loving and perfect will precisely through and for you. I pray a revived understanding of this intricate dynamic deepens your own prayers afresh, perhaps shifts them, and allows you to love and submit ever more comprehensively to the beauty of the Lord’s will in your life and in all the spheres you find yourself touching.

Reflected by Anne Snyder

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