by HANS LABOR
When I was younger I felt a strong eagerness to follow Jesus. My experience in the youth group initiated my faith which continued to develop as the church encouraged me to serve and teach. I was zealous and naive. When I got older my priorities changed and so did my relationship with Jesus. I found myself wrestling and disagreeing with him. I believed in Jesus but my heart grew cold in light of the trials I was facing. The familiar Jesus I grew up did not fit in the complexities of my world.
Jesus refused to meet my expectations. In fact, he wrecked my hopes and dreams of a better life so he could turn my life into a blank canvas. God used my failures to demonstrate his power and glory. I have rediscovered God’s goodness not because he answered all my prayers but through his gentle presence in the turmoil of my life. Jesus’ signature is most evident in my struggles and shortcomings. I’ve felt his loving comfort for Jen and I during times of pain and despair. I’ve seen God’s steadfast love sustaining me while I waited for permanent residency over fourteen years. I see God’s grace continuously transforming my old self with its habits and fears. I sense God’s tender affection as I navigate my role as a loving father. I am learning to rest in silence and to delight in God’s divine mercy. It has taken a long time with a few detours but Jesus has become my joy and my salvation. I know Jesus is with us. He is inviting us to follow him in the midst of uncertainty. Jesus’ invitation is also a reminder of the cost. Our destination is the cross. Here we must follow Jesus in his death, burial and resurrection.
With this in mind, Psalm 118 reminds us of our firm foundation and deliverance in Jesus Christ. It is one of six Egyptian Hallel Psalms that were recited during the Passover to remember how God saved his people from slavery. Jesus himself sung a Hallel psalm after the last supper in Mark 14:26. In reciting these words Jesus found comfort and strength as he recalled God’s promise of restoration and resurrection. How are you responding to the highs and lows of today? As you meditate on your Lenten journey, take time to praise the Lord in light of his goodness and grace. Find a worship song that captures God’s steadfast love for you.