Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8 Although this verse comes in the midst of a desperate plea for God’s help against the psalmist enemies, I love the reference to morning. I love mornings…not the waking up part, because sadly, I always do that reluctantly or with a bit of protest. But once I am up, my favorite part of the day is morning. In the morning, the whole day is ahead and full of opportunity and time. (By evening, I am too tired to recognize or enjoy opportunity fully.) In the morning, it is easier to believe that all things are possible. In the morning, my heart can dream and imagine and hope far more easily than at night when I am exhausted…so perhaps that is is. I have the better chance of having strength and energy at the start of the day than with each passing hour after lunch time. That is what makes morning the appropriate time for me to be reminded of God’s unfailing love, of His promise to be with me always, of His mercies which are new each morning, of the hope and strength and purpose that He provides. With each passing hour that I am away, my heart is prone to wander, to become self-sufficient and self-reliant. By 5 o’clock, I can be so weary and frazzled (from doing my day according to me, by my strength and thresholds, measured by my designated to do list progress and so on) that it isn’t until I yell in impatience at some family member that I see how far my heart is from Him. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.’ 2 Sam. 23:3-5 Jesus is this ruler, both the Rock and God of Israel and the king better than David, ruling in perfect righteousness without any sin. He is just and the One who justifies. His rule, unlike Adam’s, is not to increase His own position but to bring forth greater life than existed before…bringing grass from the earth, like the brightness after rain! I went for an incredible run alone Saturday morning, out my front door and down Hollowell toward Northside Drive. It isn’t what you would call a beautiful course with trash littering much of the ground beside the sidewalk, storefronts boarded over and covered in graffiti, holes in what sidewalk I could find and then a total lack of sidewalk when I came to the most dangerous part of the run under a train bridge. And yet, it was exhilarating to be out in my neighborhood, returning waves and good mornings from homeless men sitting in abandoned doorways, a “you go!” encouragement from the guard at some apartments along my way, getting a hug from a neighbor at a bus stop near our house on my return (and realizing the bus driver who slowed and then passed probably thought I was a prostitute – hee hee), a wave and a honk from another neighbor heading out to do errands and feeling the gratitude in my heart that I can call this my neighborhood. The enthusiasm I felt did not match what was plain to the naked eye, but it totally matched that description of Jesus being like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning. He is King and is redeeming all things, making all things new. Most importantly, that means the hearts of His people. But not far behind is the actual earth itself. I have been invited into this particular area of His redemptive work and can pick up trash or plant grass or grow flowers to life spring forth from areas that have been forgotten, abandoned, rejected, disregarded and forsaken. Better yet, He is making me new and using this place to redeem my heart. Last week, as I was walking home from a neighbor’s house, a man walking down the street in dirty clothes and one of those silky bandanna like head coverings stopped me to ask if I wanted some corn. He caught me in a weary moment, feeling wary of people always wanting something, and I told him no, thanks, I didn’t have any money. He said, “Are you sure? I don’t have any way of cooking them and just wanted the tomatoes. I got them from the library and don’t want you to pay me for them. You can just have them if you’ll eat them.” I was amazed and humbled and so grateful. “Really!?!” I asked, showing my surprise at a gift from a wandering stranger. “Yes, here.” Then he came with his brown bag, gave me four ears of corn still in the husk, and said, “God bless you.” Indeed, He just has.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23