Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 5th, 2010

Daniel Patrick O'Reilly

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Today’s scripture readings are an interesting contrast showing God’s love and power and how we often do not trust in God’s love and power.  In Jeremiah, God promises a new covenant with Israel.  No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the Lord.  I will forgive their evil doing and remember their sin no more.  The psalmist proclaims a heart contrite and humbled, “O God, you will not spurn.”  And in Matthew, Peter, in response to Jesus’ question of who do you say I am, proclaims Jesus as the Christ. 

I love Peter.  I think part of it is I see so much of myself in Peter.  He is just so human.  Peter boldly proclaims to Jesus, you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And then when Jesus says he is headed to Jerusalem to be killed, Peter takes him aside and boldly proclaims, that is a horrible plan, I can come up with a better plan than that.  Imagine, telling God you have a better plan.  Good thing I never do that.

Son number three recently returned from eight months in Chicago.  I joked with him that we would kill the fatted calf on his return.  At a dinner conversation it became apparent that Kyle, who I thought had a solid spiritual foundation, had essentially discarded his faith.  I was furious.  Eight months?  Are you kidding me?  This kid’s mom and I, not to mention a legion of friends, family and church members, have spent decades building this child’s faith and now it is gone?   Immediately I went into “I have to fix this kid mode.”  I started to plot strategy in my head.  Kyle is a college student, so he is susceptible to intellectual arguments.  I started to go over arguments for faith, the existence of God, Jesus as Savior.  I thought, I’ll do some internet searches to get some back up evidence and documentation.  Oh, when I spring these arguments on this kid, he won’t know what hit him.  Arguments?  What am I arguing about?  Why can’t I just encourage?  What am I trying to win?  So, if I prove myself to be more clever or smarter than Kyle, that will re-establish a relationship between Kyle and God?  My pride is more important than Kyle’s soul?  Sort of a God may have a plan for Kyle, but I’m sure I have a better one?  When you look at it that way, my plan sounds pretty ridiculous.

No one has ever been argued into a relationship with God.  I know that.  When someone establishes a walk with Christ, it isn’t my doing, it is the awesome power of God’s grace.  I know that, too.  So, why was I plotting out my argument?  I think it comes down to control and trust.  I want to be in control and I’m not sure I can trust God.  Which is strange.  I know that I am at my best as Christ’s ambassador when I simply pray and open myself up to the Holy Spirit.  When I submit fully to God’s hand is when things seem to work out best.  So, if that is my experience, why is control and trust such an issue?  Why don’t I fully entrust myself into God’s hands?  Why do I think I have to fix this or I have to do this on my own?  I wish I knew.  I’m an imperfect creation on a walk with my creator.  And I don’t always seem to be able to follow the path He has laid out before me.  Good thing we worship a loving, forgiving God.

My prayer today is for all of us who don’t seem to be able to relinquish control and simply trust the God who loves us.

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