Monday, March 23, 2015

Beginning anew each day is grace

C.S. Lewis is probably second only to G.K. Chesterton as the most-quoted English-speaking Christian writer. There is one quote of Lewis', from his Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, that, until very recently, I found discouraging and even, at times, depressing: "Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done," even if the necessity of so-doing was not lost on me entirely.

In a short time, however, I have gone from finding this discouraging to seeing it as quite hopeful. This realization came about in the best possible way- via experience. You see, there are days when I rely on Christ most heavily, from before my feet hit the floor in the morning until my head hits my pillow at night. I can't say these days are always "the best" days when viewed through the lens of everyday, worldly existence, but these are days when I don't let circumstances dictate my behavior nor compromise my peace and happiness. There are other days, which usually begin after a period of time during which I have relied on God quite heavily, where I convince myself that my need is not that great. In all honesty, I might be fine for a day or two living that way.

There comes a point during these days when I don't rely on God where I notice a separation, begin to feel, not a distance, but my tendency to ignore Him and think, "What am I doing?," but then persist in going my own way. These are dangerous days.

In the Book of Lamentations we read: "The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness" (Lam 3:22-23). The third chapter of Lamentations, where these verses are found, unlike the first two, focuses on individual, or personal, suffering. I find a part of the footnote from New American Bible Revised Edition that pertains to these verses very relevant- "In the midst of a description of suffering, the speaker offers this brief but compelling statement of hope in God’s ultimate mercy."

God is faithful, I am not. This is why I have to rely on Him each day as if nothing had yet been done. Yes, it is very often the case that I am slow to understand, but, for me, it's important to verify these things in reality through experience,

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