March 29, 2011
Lessons: Psalm 78:1-39, Psalm 78:40-72, Jeremiah 7:21-34, Romans 4:13-25,
Romans 4:24-25 It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
Our middle daughter was a so-so high school student. She didn’t show a lot of promise, but was a sweet child. I was a little disappointed when she graduated and was married without considering college. But after a few years and the birth of her children, she went back to school to become a nurse. How proud I was at her graduation, when she received her nurse’s cap and pin. She went on to specialize in oncology nursing. Later, one of the doctors whom she worked for took me aside and described her by a Yiddish word meaning “gift”.
I sometimes picture God as a disappointed parent, sad for the choices I have made that diminish my life and the lives of others. At other times, I experience God as a proud parent, happy about my choices that enhance my own life and the lives of the people I meet and know and love.
Does God look back and keep score of the wrong decisions and behavior? Or does God look ahead at the potential for better decisions and behavior?
Perhaps it’s not either/or, punishment/reward, black/white. Perhaps God feels sad for the lost opportunities of our lives, for our transgressions. But I believe that God looks ahead, still believing in me, glad that I’m God’s child, with expectation that I will reach more of my potential as a child of God. How I feel about God and myself depends mostly on how I answer the question, “Does God look back and keep score of my transgressions, or does God look ahead with anticipation that I will walk more faithfully in the times ahead?”
“Merciful God, most clearly revealed in the gracious acceptance of transgressors by Jesus, let the light of your hope for me guide my daily walk.” Amen.