I’m not a morning person, but today I happened to wake up early, alert and excited. Maybe I was subconsciously eager to reflect because today marks 1 full year that we’ve lived in Kansas City.
Our church here in Kansas City provides a Weekly Reading Guide with specifically chosen readings that coincide with our current sermon series and the upcoming sermon text. Today’s reading is Psalm 9 which fittingly begins like this:
I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart;I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.I will be filled with joy because of you.I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.– Psalm 9:1-2
- that He would help us with the details of the move
- that He would grant Matt the capacity to succeed in med school
- that He would lead us to a supportive community of friends
Not only did he do all three, He did much more. More than we asked.
- He brought Matt and I through another year of marriage with more empathy for one another than we’ve ever had.
- He showed me how much trust I put in “being a good teacher” and lovingly let me experience feelings of failure (I felt, for a large part of the year, like I fell short of my own standards), so that, I think, He could root me deeper still in The Good News that being “right with Him” (acceptable/valued…) has nothing to do with what I do well or perfectly but has everything to do with the fact that I identify myself with his Perfect Son, Jesus.
- He led us to a Gospel-centered church. I mean they focus on the Gospel every. single. week. And it has changed my heart. One Sunday our pastor said, “The Gospel is shallow enough for babies to wade in, but deep enough for elephants to drown in” and that, as a Christian, I will forever be growing deeper in the fundamental truths of it.
Several years ago, by contrast, I visited a church on July 4th in another city and was discouraged when I left trying to remember if I heard the name “Jesus” even mentioned. The message focused on patriotism and God’s love for America. I’m not unpatriotic, but my gosh, Uncle Sam didn’t DIE for my sins to make me right with God. I wanted to hear about a different set of stripes that Sunday. The ones which by I am healed.
- My desire to lay down at night and feel good about myself, to get to the end of the day and say “I’m okay” or “I really am good because I did _______today” is what the Bible calls “righteousness.” The Good News is I don’t have to spend my days trying to get it for myself because I already have it in Christ. If in my mind, my righteousness is Jesus + (anything), I must get the (anything) out of the way.
- All of God’s wrath for all of my sin was already poured out on Jesus on the cross. So I don’t have to pile wrath on myself at the end of the day when I don’t feel like I measured up. Even on days when I go to bed a little annoyed at myself, my God sees me as righteous because Christ is righteous and I am IN Christ. There is no need to be self-righteous for the good I do, or to feel weighed down by the mistakes I make.
*While there are lots of good churches in Kansas City, if you are looking for a church or are just curious, then let me know. You are welcomed to come with me and Matt! And then we can go out for bbq!