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love


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

Psalm 118:1-7

We are in the middle of Holy Week. Our minds are swirling with images of Jesus riding a donkey, palm branches laid at his feet. Images of Jesus sharing a meal with friends, talking, and having community. We are preparing ourselves for Good Friday when the sweet images of Jesus will fade, and we will remember him carrying a cross, our cross, the world’s cross, and ultimately being crucified.

When I read Psalm 118, I am reminded of Jesus’s crucifixion and how his love for us endured forever in that one act. It is the culmination of everything we have pondered this Lent Season. Jesus’s death tore the veil between God and us – creating a space for us to enter into the thinness of the spiritual. We were no longer separated from God. We were once again allowed in the presence of the divine. We were invited into the space of wonder where God could whisper to us.

I especially love verses 5-7 in this Psalm. It reminds me of Psalm 23, how God brought us into a green pasture for rest, and how God reminded us in Exodus 17:1-7 to turn away from fear and trust God to provide for all of our needs, and in Psalm 121 when God told us they are our help.

I think I have lived most of my life afraid. Perhaps you can relate. Those of you who seem fearless amaze me. I have always feared doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, spending money, and parenting badly. I could go on and on. Most of the time, I persevere and do “the thing” even when I’m afraid. When I read these verses, I am transported back to a time when I felt hard-pressed. I was continually crying out to God. I wanted direction, I desperately didn’t want to be afraid anymore, and God literally took me to a spacious place and calmed me.

It was early 2020. I had separated from my spouse in 2019. When things started to fall apart in 2019, I thought I could fix it, hold it together, and make it right. I didn’t want to do anything wrong, ruin my children, separation or divorce; I knew the financial expense. Fear. I was gripped in fear. Even in my fear, God would give me glimpses of what it could look like if I persevered and made it to the other side. In my mind, and what I had been taught, that should have meant fixing my marriage and staying married. That was the Christian thing. Yet, when God gave me glimpses of the other side, I wasn’t married anymore. I could feel myself drawing near that thinness, leaning into the whispers of God, but my mind didn’t believe what my heart had heard. My heart was running away and telling me lies. That was what I thought. Then, in early 2020, I went camping. I was brought into a spacious place, a still place, a quiet place where the divine is close. The Sunday morning of my departure I took a walk into the woods. The sky was clear and blue, the pine trees smelled amazing and swayed in the breeze, and the air was crisp and cold. I sat down on those pine needles and really listened. I leaned into God. And in those moments I felt God come and sit with me as someone who helps would. God listened to all my fears, let me cry, and continued to tell me to do it afraid. Doing what I was “supposed” to do would mean a living death for me. That wasn’t what God had called my life to be. It was time to walk out of it, live fuller, closer to God, and rely on God to help and carry me through. When I walked out of those woods that day, I was changed. I knew what I needed to do and I knew I was following God even if it didn’t make sense to anyone else.

God will always call us to things that don’t make sense. God called Jesus to die on the cross for us. How does that make sense? It defies logic. In all the ways God called us, called us out, called us close, called us to go against logic, their love is present. The love of God goes with us and is in us. God is ever forgiving, loving, and helping. May this Easter season draw you closer than ever to the thinness of the spiritual and the whispers of God.

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