Yesterday I was at work for 14 hours. That is not a common occurrence in my job thankfully, but it made for a really long day. Among the realities of a day like that are that I didn’t get to see my daughter at all yesterday since I left the house while she was still asleep and got home after she went to bed. My wife didn’t get a break in the late afternoon and evening when I normally get home so she cared for our daughter the entire day. I didn’t get to spend very much time catching up with my wife after I got home, because I needed to get to bed so I could get up and get back to work today. I will confess that I didn’t read any scripture yesterday, nor did I really get a chance to pray very much. Have you had a day like this?
Aren’t these the types of days that we want our faith in Christ to really show up, to really perform dare I say? We hear that Christ meets us where we are and we hear that He is with us in the stuff of life, as one of my mentors calls it. Yet, how often have we finished one of those days poorly? How often have we let the stress of these days and the responsibilities therein drive us to despair, anger, stress, sin, and so on? As Paul would say, does this mean that Christ fails us? Certainly not!
As I arrived home last night, I had countless reminders of God’s grace in my life even in a long workday. I have a job. I have a wonderful, God-loving wife and precious daughter waiting for me at home. I have a place to rest and lay my head. I have all the other little comforts and necessities of life like food, water and so on. And there are so many more that I could list. The thing that rises above even all those wonderful things is that I have a relationship with the creator of the universe. That creator is God and through the work of His son Jesus Christ, I am a child of my Father in heaven. He has given me His Holy Spirit to dwell in me to convict me of sin and righteousness to make me more and more like Him.
When I get home tonight, I will see my daughter for the first time since Sunday. She will probably squeal and come running to the door to greet me. She is 18 months old, so one of her things right now is to point at me and say “dada”, then point at my wife and say “mama”. She does this over and over. Every time she does that I am reminded how blessed I am, but I also think about how her running to me is such a picture of how our relationship with God should be. My daughter is so uninhibited and free that out of the joy she has to see me, she runs to me. She does this when I get home and she does this when she is doing something at home that she shouldn’t. Do we do this with God?
When you finish your 14, 15, or however many hour workday and you are exhausted, do you run to your Father? This doesn’t have to look overly spiritual, but can be something as tangible as a concentration on Him and an opportunity to rest. This can be a time of prayer or a time of scripture reading. This can be a quiet walk outside or a time to just sit quietly and think on Him. When we are stressed, weak and tired, we can be at our most vulnerable state. This is where the Gospel enters our daily lives. We are freed by Christ to say no to whatever our weak, stressed, and tired bodies might clamor after for comfort and we are free to run to Him. He has walked with us by His Spirit throughout whatever mess our day may have been and He calls us to Himself as the day comes to a close, just as He did when the day began.
I’ve been in the Psalms lately, so I will leave you with another Psalm:
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul! (Psalm 103 ESV)