Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My only comfort

At the ripe age of six, I was convinced that there was too much responsibility once you entered 1st grade.  At least that's what I thought after the carefree days of kindergarten. I decided that it would be better to keep repeating the first five years of my life over and over again - an endless loop of play with a little bit of learning thrown in. Setting aside the theological problem of reincarnation, I had an inkling even as a youngster that with age comes responsibility. And now that I'm in the thick of midlife, responsibility weighs heavy at times.

Perhaps it's introspection that comes with age, but I find myself stopping and considering what I've done with my life. What do I have to show for it when all is said and done? How have I been as a daughter, a mother, a sister, and a friend? What is the fruit of decisions I have made, and who has been affected by my choices for good or bad?

There's nothing wrong with honestly taking stock of life. It's healthy to admit where I've sinned, pray for grace to do otherwise, and trust that God is greater. But this type of musing can turn inward and become a meltdown in the making. Pretty soon I'm tallying up all the ways I haven't measured up to the "All Good Christians must be or do..." yardstick that hovers in the back of my mind. And when the sense that it's all up to me to get it right grabs hold, it's easy to be crushed by its weight.

But does my life and its outcome rest solely on my shoulders? Absolutely not.

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.1

When I read the words from this catechism, it's like a breath of clean, gospel air that revitalizes my soul. It's a gust of truth that sweeps away the choking fog that it's all up to me. At the end of the day and at the end of life, I won't be resting on my laurels but on the merits of Another. Even if I tried, I couldn't keep myself from day to day let alone to the end, but I am preserved by my heavenly Father. The desire to please God is a fruit of the Spirit's work which He will complete. And all things, the good, and bad, the trials and the joys are working for my salvation.

So when the question comes up, "What do you have to show for your life?" I can answer it with these words:

"That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ..."

This is great comfort indeed.

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