Hear my prayer, O Lord,

and give ear to my cry;

hold not your peace at my tears.

For I am a sojourner with you,

a guest, like all of my fathers.

Psalm 39: 12

 

We humans have not lived comfortably in the land since the very earliest days of our most distant ancestors. They turned the beauty and the calm of life into the ugliness of evil and the distress of chaos. Then, everyone who has followed has lived as a foreigner in the world and as a stranger even in our own hometowns. Perhaps the hardest thing for me to accept in this entire difficult journey is the fact that I participate directly in making it the series of trials that it is. My sinfulness and rebellion against God contribute directly to aspects of the struggle.

 

This is not to say that the trials and the hard times of life are mine because God is punishing me for my sin. That is not how God’s redemptive and righteous love, grace, and mercy function. However, through my reliance upon my own understanding and capacity as opposed to yielding fully to the wisdom of Christ, I do contribute to my lack of understanding of life, my weakness in the face of adversity, and the frailty and self-centeredness of my interaction with others. My self-directed separation from the total intimacy with God and the immersion into His will that Christ calls me to enjoy leaves me traveling through these hostile regions on my own.

 

Yet, this is not the way that God desires for it to be. He is fully aware of the nature of this world, and His heart is set upon a depth of relationship with me and with everyone that would have us traveling along through the journey of life with our Lord as our unceasing companion and guide. Still, accompaniment is not all that God desires. In fact, we only fully enter into Christ’s calling for our lives as we actively engage in His work of redemption for the souls of our fellow travelers. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings peace to our souls even as the tears that flow naturally in this land are still staining our cheeks.