Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Clouds Break

"All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without condemn me-- the son which sees my misdeeds, the darkness which is light to thee, the cruel accuser who justly charges me, the good angels who have been provoked to leave me, thy countenance which scans my secret sins, thy righteous law, thy holy Word, my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life, my neighbors, myself-- all write dark things against me.

I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess, 'Father, I have sinned';  Yet still I live, and fly repenting to thy outstretched arms; thou wilt not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near, thou wilt not condemn me, for he died in my stead, thou wilt not mark my mountains of sin, for he levelled all, and his beauty covers my deformities.

O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging to his cross, hiding in his wounds, sheltering in his side."              

- Puritan prayer from The Valley of Vision

This morning I woke up tired and depressed.  I woke up wanting to ride my bike and escape the tasks of the day that loom over me.

Being a "professional Christian" can be really hard when I'm not feeling my faith.  I possess a deep passion for escape, materialism and entertainment (the pleasures that are so easily attainable in my culture) that often and (it seems like) always overrides my passion for God.

Facing my reality, I  feel like an empty shell.  I feel hollow and without much hope.  I feel like I'm attempting to lift a weight of condemnation that I can't bear.  I'm even finding it hard to write.

That's why it was so good to read the words above.  To know that I'm not alone and that many a weary traveller has been my way before - travellers that have seen glimpses of their sin and are overwhelmed.

It is good to know that they found hope in the reality of God.  It is so comforting to know that I have Jesus and his sacrifice to cling to.

A clear vision of Jesus and his mission can break through the heaviest clouds of condemnation.  He lifted the weight.  He carried the burden.  He knows the guilt and shame.

When I am tired and want to give up and give in, I have a savior.  When I am sick of my old ways of escape and entertainment, I have a savior.  When I've exhausted every other avenue in the pursuit of self and satisfaction and am left like an empty shell, I have a savior.

And this savior, this Jesus Christ, not only has "more medication than I have pain" (as a friend of mine put it), but he is with me.

God with me always.  To think that he knows far more about my sin than I do, and that he radically and furiously loves me and covers me, and that he never, ever, EVER leaves me is simply too much to comprehend.  But it is an encouraging thought on grey mornings.