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Every Hour I Need Thee

On Saturday, I ended the day absolutely defeated.  I felt utterly condemned by children’s sin, my sinful response to their sin, and my own sinful heart which I bring into those interactions in the first place.  It was one of those times when God let me feel the gravity of my problem, the blackness of my heart and the impossibility of my being able to do anything about it.  The thing about condemnation is that it is permanent.  When the gavel raps on the judge’s desk, it is tantamount to the jail cell being slammed shut and locked.  It feels like the coffin being shut and nailed tight.  Guilty.  There is no going back and this is the end of the road.

For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.  Acts 8:23Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3:19-20

Sin takes me captive.  It is a captivity from which I cannot escape.  No clever plan will work, no adrenaline overload can give me the power necessary to break free, no new determination or positive thinking or routine or schedule or environment will get me out of its dark, maze-like cave prison.  It is not until I give up trying to chip away at the rock wall which surrounds me that I begin to realize I need to be rescued.

but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Romans 7:23-24Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,…Gal. 1:3-4

Day in and out, I forget that my redemption is not in my own resources.  I daily forget that God has not offered me a plan of redemption but a Redeemer.  I have not been left alone to get it right, get better, fix it, restore it, do or die.  He offers me Himself even in the moment that He brings me to the end of myself.

Why do I despair over my children’s selfishness, greediness, laziness?  Why do I despair over my exhaustion, hatred, wounding tongue, impatience and so on?  Why do I despair over the “present evil age”?  I despair and am discouraged because hourly I come to believe that I am the one who must make things right.  Hourly I come to believe that I am alone to get it right.  Hourly I assume that I must figure out how to help myself.   And in this Gospel amnesia, I need His grace.  I need His grace to cover my deep shame and I need His grace to move me from hiding behind the Garden tree back into His intimate embrace.  I need His grace to climb into my heart and clean out the thorns and plant His Spirit from which life giving fruit can grow.  I need His work to be at work in me and then through me.  I need a Person, not another new plan.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.   1 Peter 1:3-7

It is good news that He takes me into those dark, dead end cave prisons to show me that no rock wall is too thick for Him to break through.  I have struggled in the past with “wanting to want Him”, but increasingly, He is giving me something better.  He is showing me that I need Him.

Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:8

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