Lord of All That Is,
You have reached out in the most amazing way imaginable to bring us into the most intimate relationship possible.
You patiently mentor us as we discover how much we matter to You.
You unceasingly offer us the gift of the entirety of the breadth, depth, height and width of You and patiently walk with us as we plumb the depths of who You are.
All of this – and so much more – means our prayer today is very simple. Enable us to find our life in You. Fill us with so much grace we discover Your abundant life even in the most unlikely circumstances. And help us love You into infinity and beyond.
Your soul is bruised and covered with scars from being wounded. Some of these have come from people you care about, others from terrible mistakes you have made and still others from life just happening. After being the recipient of these sorts of things long enough, it can be awfully tempting to assume you’re a failure. But God wants you to know you’re not a failure, even if you think you are. What is more, God wants to help you obliterate the “I’m no good” syndrome with an infusion of grace. It probably will take awhile, involve hard work and challenge you to trust God like you’ve never trusted God before. But it will make all the difference in the world. Literally. Because God’s going to stay right by your side until you really, really, really experience that you are God’s beloved.
You never know. You may think you do, but you really don’t. A respected person who seems to ‘have it all’ commits suicide. A healthy person is diagnosed with cancer. A happy marriage disintegrates without warning. Yet if you think about it, you realize you actually understand it all too well. You have experienced depression no one else knew about. You have failed in ways you did not talk about. You have struggled with your relationship with God you never tell anyone about. That’s why it’s time to get real about real life. There are no easy answers. No clichés that will just make it go away. No simplistic solutions. But there is God whose love is so powerful it never gives up on anyone, always reaches out into real life through caring people and eternally cherishes every person, especially those who hurt the most. And that means there is always hope.
200,000 hungry children in Arkansas, the massacre of Christians in Iraq, and the spread of Zika. The dysfunction of our government and the increasing hopelessness of the American people. Personal struggles that are personal and painful, and sometimes devastating. All of this – and so much more – is exactly why we need God to bring healing, reconciliation and hope to a world that is broken. But it’s also why God needs you to be the one so filled with God’s grace that you take the initiative to bring God’s healing, reconciliation and hope to our world. Of course, you aren’t going to save the world. But you can do something essential. In fact, you can do something in exactly the way God needs it done. The reason is simple. You are blessed to be a blessing in real life with real people in real ways.
You probably spend a great deal of time figuring out what you believe about God, especially when it comes to life’s most difficult questions. While this is commendable, you also need to understand that you can’t define God with your thoughts, words or understanding. In fact, you’ll fall hopelessly short even on the very best day of your life. But that’s okay. Because God ultimately is mystery. Which means the point of faith is not to figure out God; but to fully live your life in the divine mystery exploring the heart of God, experiencing the unconditional love of God, being transformed by the power of God and consciously living every second in the presence of God. It’s never easy, but it’s always necessary. So embrace the mystery of God today. Not as something to be figured out. But as something to spend eternity discovering.