Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 7, 2020
There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; they weigh like a burden too heavy for me. Psalm 38:3-4 (NRSV)
Most of the time, I find myself trying to identify external forces that act upon me negatively, longing to cast the blame for any season of frustration, doubt, or disappointment anywhere other than upon myself. Undoubtedly, we have all carried an additional weight upon our shoulders this year. In the words of the psalmist, 2020 has weighed “like a burden too heavy for me.” Even if your personal situation or circumstances have changed very little over the past few months, it is virtually impossible to ignore the collective burden that has been placed upon our society. Yet even that phrase is telling, is it not? “Placed upon our society.” Again, looking to external forces acting upon us and over which we have little to no control.
What happens when life returns to normal, whatever “normal” make look like for you? The commonly held belief is that as soon as the storm passes, the waters of our country and global society will soon settle and we can all quickly resume our ascent up the mountain of personal happiness and tranquility. What you and I must see, however, is that these present external storms are not our greatest threat! Without dismissing the very real dangers that face us without, we must increasingly learn to tend to the sickness that rages within.
Christians over the centuries have often spoken of sin as a sickness, a cancer that infects us to the bone, impacting every inclination we carry and decision we make. When storms rage all around us, it is easy to dismiss and discount this interior ailment. Storms have a way of shining a bright light upon these places of brokenness and burden, yet we are not healed simply by the storm passing on. Why? Because the storm is not the cause of our oppression. That can only be attributed to the sickness of sin that weighs upon us from the inside out.
Though sin is the cause of our great burden, thankfully it does not have the final word. For the faithful Christian, we must ever live with a mindfulness of our sin and shame, yet an even greater awareness of the mercy and compassion of God. In fact, at our best, awareness of our sickness drives us to seek out a true and lasting cure. This has always been the pattern, as our reading faithfully reminds us today. “For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin” (Psalm 38:17-18).
Father, great as the storms of this world may be, there is no greater chaos than that which lives within the human heart. Help us to see our sin for what it is, yet trust afresh in your great love and healing touch, resting in the promise that you love us and will never forsake us. Amen.
How have the external challenges of this season blinded you to the inner sickness that needs the healing touch of the Lord?
Psalm 30:2; Isaiah 41:10; 1 Peter 2:24
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