Can you hear it?
It’s the goodbye song carried on the breeze
as summer falls into a sweet sleep
It’s the musical laughter of young children
as they jump into piles previously raked
It’s the crinkling of leaves underfoot as
the bright yellow bus pulls in
It’s the delighted whispers of the newly
crisp breeze, cooling cheeks
It’s autumn approaching quickly
Karis Cooper, Age 13 – Nashville, TN RevivingTheSoul Publications, 2016
Almost every morning, I take a walk, though I don’t leave my family room. In my mind’s eye, in my heart, I take a walk on a narrow, stony dirt path that winds up the side of a knoll to where it all happened.
At times, everything in me wants to turn and walk in the other direction. There is something both compelling and ominous about this place. This is not a scenic walk with breath-taking vistas. No one takes selfies here. I make myself keep walking until I can hear the wheezing of labored breathing, the moans of grown men… until I feel ashamed being in the presence of their shame, until I can imagine the stench and inhumane suffering. Compelled, I put one foot in front of another. I simply have to see the broken and bruised man in the middle. I kneel as closely as possible at the foot of his cross and there ponder what horrors occurred here.
What cosmic conflict raged on these shoulders? What agonies were so relentlessly poured upon this one man that all of heaven turned its face away and all creation moaned? What does all of this mean?
Then, I imagine a stranger, ignorant of the events, walking on the same path coming up behind me with shock in his voice asking “Who did this?!” I turn my head and look over my shoulder and confess, “I did”; My sins nailed him there. The eternal son of God became a man. The perfect man became my sin. The obedient son crushed by his Father for disobedience he never committed. Then, the languid eyes of the man in the middle lock with mine and I hear him say “It is finished. Paid in full… Now, they are all forgiven.”
Stare until you marvel. Stare until you mourn. Stare until you repent. Stare until you worship. Stare until you rejoice
Zech. 12:10 “They shall look upon me, whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn.”
This post was written by my friend, Steve Shank. Steve has served in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and is the author of First Steps of Faith, one of the first books I read after becoming a Christian. I am pleased to announce that Steve will be joining RevivingTheSoul as a regular contributor.
Psalm 4:1;3 – “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!… But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.”
Here is hope laid out for the distressed soul: God hears your prayers.
Has He not given you relief time and time again in response to your cries? He will do it again (2 Cor. 1:10).
Think of all the moments of desperation that have led you to prayerful dependence on the Lord. You cried out for deliverance and received His salvation. Not one prayer of yours was answered because of your own righteousness. Will He deny your requests for relief this time? When you pray, you are praying to the God of your righteousness, the One who provided your righteousness in Christ Jesus (Romans 1:16-17) who lived a perfect life for you. If God did not spare His own Son, how will He not also with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32).
God is gracious and He will hear your cries.
This is an apt description for the Christian life: Distress leads to desperation. Desperation reveals our dependence. Dependence fuels our devotion and believing prayer leads to our deliverance.
Bring every need to the throne of grace and never shy away from crying out to such a gracious God who hears your prayers!