Today’s Lent Project devotional is by Karen Houghton. She and her husband, Paul, are members of our Leadership Team.
Sometimes life is really, really hard. We are all touched by sorrow, regret, and pain at some point. We will have challenges that seem insurmountable, people who are against us, sickness, financial hardships, and broken relationships. Those things can pull and tear at our soul. Those of us who do not have faith can point at those things and say “See, there is no way a loving God exists.” Those of us who are in relationship with God know that while He is very real, life can still be cruel and unjust. And sometimes, when we sit in that, we can be overcome with grief and God can seem so very far away. We feel shame for our own actions, anger at the actions of others, and despair at the deep-down ugly injustice of it all.
God made me the kind of woman who yearns for what is right, what is true, and what is fair. The presence of so much hurt and evil feels just… so… wrong. It’s one of the many reasons I love the Psalms. As David writes, he is often anguished, in loss and anger at the people who have come against him. He is so very real. His emotional pleas with the Lord are for justice against his enemies, mercy for himself, and that all things will bring glory to God. Yet despite David’s circumstances, the Psalms always still express thankfulness and trust in the Lord.
I love that those gritty feelings can mix in and be followed with praise. God’s love for us is so authentic that there isn’t anything we can’t lay at His feet. And while we have hope for the future, the incredible resurrection of Jesus, and the promise of a new heaven and earth where there will no longer be tears (thank you, Jesus!), sometimes we miss the promise of resurrection AND life. Life for now. God has promised us an abundant life! Not for the future, but for right here on earth. I think that is what David knew. It didn’t take away the hurt, but instead puts a Godly perspective on the here and now. Our struggles can be overcome. Our weaknesses can be opportunities for growth. Eddie asked this amazing question in his sermon on Saturday, “If you really believed that Jesus has power over your life today, what would look different?”
That’s what I am working on, leaning forward into the almighty power of a Jesus who is resurrected AND who promises us life. A God whose glory is already present. Jesus has power over our life. How can we live in that today? In the words of David, “Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord.” -Psalm 31:24