Monday, August 23, 2010

Jeremiah's Anguish

Nature, faith, life…they are replete with contrast, contradiction, paradox. This photo speaks to the contrasts - the edge of a storm on an otherwise sun-filled day. It sort of captures the tension between darkness and light. One of the most puzzling Biblical contrasts for me is God’s love and wrath. The photo was taken - quite appropriately - at a Caribbean spot called Grace Bay. And where theological explanations prove elusive, I must rely on grace! Pray with me…

Great and Holy God,

I have been trudging through a study of Jeremiah. It is so threatening and depressing, so counter to my understanding of your love.

You know my heart; you know I am having great difficulty squaring your boundless love with your Biblically presented “wrath.”

I’m so convinced that the message of love, forgiveness, healing, guidance and protection is your lead story. But I don’t want to stumble into a “relaxed fit,” new age theology.

Jeremiah reminds me that just as you set before us “the way of life” so the opposite must exist - the way of death. (Jeremiah 21:8) There must be some sort of judgment or consequence for the unrepentant. For those who disrespect you. For those who wantonly refuse to follow.

In my confusion, help me to focus on your holiness, to honor your call to obedience, to seek your mercy, to cling to that nugget of hope in Jeremiah 17:

"…blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

May I become that man - through the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of his Holy Spirit. Amen.

Photo: Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos