I am a scum-puppy. There. I said it. I have a short-temper. I am lazy. I am selfish. I have been known to lie, to judge others, and to be rude. I have a past that I am not always proud of, and broken relationships that are still not repaired. And these are only the tip of the iceberg.
I am a woman who is well-acquainted with the fact that she is a sinner. Admitting this humbles me.
I am at a loss as to how we humans can come close to fully appreciating the gift of what Jesus did for us unless we see how hopelessly far from God our hearts truly are. My imperfections and shortcomings are too great for me to ever work my way back to a Holy God. In fact, He tells us that our very best behavior and intentions are still so far from holy that they are akin to "filthy rags." (See Isaiah 64:6)
I could be written off by my Creator for the scum-puppy that I am. Instead, He launched a rescue mission to bring me home to live in the grace of His perfection.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. There is incredible beauty in this black carbon reminder smeared on the foreheads of the faithful. These ashes mark 40 days of calming and remembering who I am in Christ. Deeply flawed, but even more deeply loved. When I see how lovingly my Maker breathed life into the ash heap that I am, I feel treasured. Psalm 103 (above) reminds me that the earth may forget me, but God never will.
Because of how intensely I am cherished by God, I can't help but be motivated respond in obedience. I want to please the One who so lavishly loves and forgives me.
Even so, I am too often a zealous fool like Peter spouting, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death,” only to tell Him of my disdain when I find myself in dire circumstances again. Like the foolish rich young ruler asking, "What must I do to obtain eternal life?", I am dour when Jesus tells me, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (see Mark 10:21, NIV)
Lent is a time to reflect, to come to terms with the fact that He is calling me to be broken bread and poured out wine. It's a concentrated time to hold the funeral for my plans, my desires, my selfishness, and to exchange them again for His more glorious, often more difficult ways.
I hope you will journey along, because He never leaves me where He finds me. Thank God!
PRAY: Oh, Jesus, we rush through so much of life with our minds cluttered. Help us these next 40 days to remember who we are in You. Slow us down to reflect on how much we need to get over ourselves. Multiply our time so that we are able to bask in the boundless love You provided for us through the agony of the cross.
~ Barb Dittrich