I am in the midst of writing some devotional meditations that are scheduled for publication in two years, in 2018. I had started one yesterday but didn’t think it was on track. I had stopped and prayed, trying to hear what the Lord wanted me to say more clearly. I was, in a sense, acting on a point I had included in an entry I finished yesterday. I had quoted the oft-repeated invitation from Jesus, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
In the middle of the night, a re-focus of the passage unfolded in my mind. So, before breakfast, I went back to my computer to rewrite. I don’t say it will strike anyone else, but as I finished and re-read the words I had just put on the screen, I had one of those “Who wrote that?” moments that Melanie has talked about. I’m sure it happens to writers all the time. I was anxious to read the whole page to see what it said. It was like the Lord was speaking to me.
I won’t make you wait two years. Here it is. It is based on Luke 6, a section of teaching similar to what St. Matthew recorded as “The Sermon On the Mount.”
Jesus used an illustration to drive home his concern when we trust only what we can see, or think we are seeing. The parable of having a plank or log in our eye is not saying we should not help a neighbor with a speck of dust in their eye. Jesus wants us to be helpful to one another. The problem comes when we fail to see what is in front of our own nose, hindering and blocking our vision. A person like that might as well be blind. Our problem comes from not being able to see clearly and thinking we see well enough.
There is a parallel problem with the invitation we mentioned in the previous meditation. It is important that we hear with our ears and receive the directions we need from Jesus. But even this is not enough if we don’t follow through and act on what we have been told to do.
St. Luke records a crucial question from Jesus: Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?
Jesus was clear. He only deserves the title of Lord if he is actually in charge. People would only believe that he is in charge if they see us honoring him by doing what he says to do. Otherwise the title is a useless, pointless symbol. We might as well be deaf and blind if that is how we are going to live. We might as well be surrounded by darkness, with no light at all.
And there are storms coming.
Each day the editor of the devotional asks us to pose a question for reflection and discussion, and also a short suggested prayer.
R&D: Do you recognize what it means to say someone is your Lord? How do you feel about being told what to do when you think you already have things under control?
Prayer: LORD Jesus, help me today to show you and everyone that I am not just listening to you. I am listening and then doing what you tell me to do. Because I do want you to be my Lord.
Melanie called me to breakfast. At the table, I read out loud (voice exercise) from the current issue of the daily devotional I am writing for. This month it has been running a series I wrote for them two years ago, before the stroke that has changed things for Melanie and me both. The closing prayer for the day’s entry:
Prayer: Jesus, I am learning to trust that when you speak, you will carry through. I want you to be able to trust me in the same way.
I had gotten out of bed this morning feeling somewhat disconsolate as I grabbed for the walker. Today it is nineteen months since the stroke. I had already noticed that several things we’ve read and heard this week have reminded us to keep trusting the Lord.
Two weeks ago, Melanie got her diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease. The medicine she is taking makes her allergic to sunshine. And very tired. This means we dare not try to go to church Sunday mornings in all that beautiful Florida sunshine.
But, as I taught myself again this morning at prayer, Jesus, when you speak, you will carry through. And I want anyone watching to know that I want you to be my Lord.