|2 Peter 3:12-15,
Psalm 90:2, 3-4, 10, 14, 16
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent to Jesus to ensnare him
in his speech…
So they gathered around him, smiling slyly without looking directly at him, with false sincerity, flattering him, and laying a trap for him. I watch as he looks at them, knowing exactly what they are doing, sad, annoyed and loving them all at the same time. Angrily, he challenges them, “Why are you testing me?” and then silences them in a few words.
Those people weren’t looking for answers when they asked the questions; they wanted to trick him into another answer – their answer. They weren’t looking into his eyes and asking for help or guidance. They only wanted to confirm what they already knew and believed. I know their game, the Pharisees and the Herodians, because I play it myself with God.
Come on, God, I hear myself wheedle. Can’t I have what I want and still serve you? I don’t have to really follow your teachings, do I? Isn’t it enough to be able to quote you, to admire others who serve you better, to be impressed by those who devote their life to you?
I shift uncomfortably when I hear Jesus is asking me to love my enemy. I want to negotiate with Jesus instead. If I don’t injure my enemy, surely you don’t mean I have to stop talking and gossiping about him, right?
I find myself sharing the same space with the Pharisees and Herodians, verbally debating with Jesus, trying to trap him into an answer I want, waiting for God to come around to my way of thinking.
Again I look into those gentle eyes, so filled with love and compassion for my weaknesses. Well, maybe I won’t be as duplicitous as the Pharisees. I squeeze my eyes shut again and try to convince him of how good I am, how perfect my life has become. I find myself calculating, “spinning,” trying to deceive God into the kind of life I lead while ignoring the way he asks me to live. At the moment I should be falling on my knees for the One who died for my sins, I find myself trying to dazzle him as I do everyone else so he won’t see who I really am.
For the thousandth time in my life, I hear him call my name, touch my shoulder so gently and feel the warmth of his hand lovingly caress the side of my face. I know I have to give up fighting against him and lean on him instead, returning his embrace. I feel it so deeply in my soul, his love for me, his acceptance of me for exactly who I am and his forgiveness of my many faults.
I am lost in a swirl of gratitude and love and fear that I can’t do what he asks of my life. But his presence reminds me that he will always be with me. My life is in his hands – now if only I can live that way.
Lord, as I place my life in your loving hands, let me live today
with deeper trust in your love and care for me, that I might
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