Monday, November 27, 2006

Repeated thoughts of Brokenness: What I am most thankful for

Every time the pastor extends an invitation to the congregation to share a few things they are thankful for, it seems my train of thought inexorably drives me to the same place. I hear those in financial need thanking God for his provision. I hear those burdened by terminal illness thanking God for their health. I listen as young children thank the Lord for disciplining them as a Father disciplines his Son. I hear those who have recently experienced death thanking God for new life in Christ. The feeling starts with deceptive subtlety. At first I can maintain a sense of control over my thoughts. Soon, though, the feeling solidifies as it becomes an overpowering force that renders my attempts to shut it out futile. With my robust sense of self-sufficiency vanquished on the battlefield of my mind, all that is left is the still, small voice that echoes indisputable truth: We do not deserve this…I do not deserve this. I do not deserve to be broken over my sin which leads to repentance. I do not deserve to be filled with joy in worship. I do not deserve to bear on my body the marks of Christ. I do not deserve to give thanksgiving in the midst of heartache. I do not deserve to sit among this church and hear the testimony of these saints, young and old, as they proclaim their dependence on an all-sufficient Savior.

I deserve to go about mourning because the oppression of my enemies. I deserve to feel the weight of my sin bear down on me until I am crushed. I deserve judgment, not mercy; bitterness, not joy; hate, not love; abandonment, not redemption; hell, not heaven; alienation, not Identification with Jesus, the Christ.

In these moments, the still small voice escalates into a roar. It proclaims the simple gospel message, While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

And I am finally broken. How can this be? How can this be believed? How can I even begin to fathom this? My sense of self-sufficiency cannot survive this. My pride will not stand for this. My will cannot bend to this. They must be put to death. By His power, he makes this possible; Another thing I don’t deserve.

On the road to Damascus, he opened my eyes…
Now I see how truly great my sin, and how truly great my Savior.

For this I am most thankful this year.

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Says Simpleton is (c) Ched Spellman
2006-17

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