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Day 154: Flashback: Proverbs in the Pandemic (Proverbs 1-3)

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‭‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‭‭‭‭‭‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

One of the most helpful personal disciplines a Christ follower can develop is journaling. For me, it’s right up there with Bible reading and Scripture memory. Journaling is a way for you to look back and track your progress on the journey.

This is my fourth trip through Scripture with the Bible Recap, and it’s been amazing to see notes in my Bible from the first two trips. Today was especially poignant, as I read over what I wrote on this day from 2020. Looking at it today, I’m overwhelmed by God’s kindness during a dark time.

June 3, 2023 is coming at the end (or at least, I hope it’s the end) of another challenging season of ministry— one in which my confidence as a leader and my competence as a pastor have been challenged. I’ve seen a brother in Christ hurt deeply by a toxic church situation, and I have another brother caught up in some of the most divisive denominational politics in a generation. I’ve had a situation that has made me question my own judgment and discernment. And so I read what I wrote three years ago, and my need for wisdom and mercy and peace are as fresh now as they were then. My 2020 self has lots of common with my 2023 self.

The good news is that the Jesus who calmed me in 2020 is exactly the same as the One who speaks to my soul in 2023. And I know that every June 3 for the rest of my life (or June 2 in leap years) will find me as much or more in need of God’s grace as every June 3 that has ever been.

Maybe this will strike a chord with your 2023 self as well. If so, for every day you feel just as broken as you did the day or week or month or year before, know this about your Redeemer:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭8‬ ‭ESV‬‬


June 2, 2020:

I started Proverbs in my quiet time today. I’ve never felt more in need of its wisdom. As a pastor, as an American, as a human being, I feel like I am at the end of my rope today. I need wisdom on how to safely re-gather our church. I need discernment to know what is and isn’t true. I need help knowing how to guide myself, my son, and the people I serve through bitter, divisive, turbulent times. In my weakest moments, I’m overcome with self doubt, wondering if I am up to the task.

I journaled this prayer this morning. I’m posting it here because I want you to know (even if… especially if… you are a member of the church I pastor) that I do not have it all together. I do not have all the answers. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that I have anything to say or any capacity to lead. And I am begging for it today. Here goes:

I am afraid.
I need Your shelter to hide me.

I am confused.
I need Your wisdom to guide me.

I am broken.
I need Your hand to heal me.

I am anxious.
I need Your presence to still me.

I am sad.
I need Your joy to cheer me.

I cry out.
I need Your Spirit to hear me.

I am hungry.
I need Your Word to feed me.

I am lost.
I need my Shepherd to lead me.

I am unlovely.
I need Your love to surround me.

I am lonely.
I need Your people around me.

I am unfocused.
I need Your direction to point me.

I am unholy.
I need your grace to anoint me.

God, give me what I don’t have. Teach me what I don’t know. And make me what I can’t be without you.

Kyrie eleison.


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