After two of what felt like the laziest weeks ever in my life, things are now accelerating at breakneck speed. I wake up Monday morning, and before I know it, I look at my watch and it is Wednesday afternoon – and I still haven’t completed what I hoped to finish before Tuesday! Thankfully, quiet evenings and sleep filled nights continue to be the norm, though there is a tugging each evening to get one more item checked off the list.
Then, before God allows me to get too buried in complaints and “woe is me”, he reminds me of his faithfulness, and the enormous bounty of undeserved blessings that he is continuously pouring out right before me. I go from busy to busted … and, as he brings blessing after blessing back to my memory, before I know it, I am bursting with praise. Wow – that, my friends, is what repentance is all about.
Try putting these puzzle pieces together. First, consider the power of God’s word (God says, “Let there be,” and there it was – that is how creation goes day after day … to some fishermen in Galilee he says, “Follow me” and their lives are never the same). Then, consider that the term “repent” means “turn around” or “make a 180”. Finally, hear Jesus as he says to us today (his same message since he first walked on this earth), “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4.11).
Or perhaps the picture is easier to see in these words we receive through St. Paul: “All scripture is breathed out by God, and is useful for teaching, for reproof (busted), for correction (turning me around to the right direction), and for training in righteousness (bursting)” (2 Timothy 3.16). Every time my vision becomes blurred by my business, my boisterousness, or my blustery bellyaching, I get busted as God reminds me how good I really have it … and the next thing I know he has me bursting out with praise.
I am not quite sure how he did it yesterday, but somehow Jesus got me to thinking about the blessings he has worked since mid-March … the list is just as overwhelming as it is incomplete … and I am only thinking about my life and the ministry of STL! God is opening hearts in so many ways … we have new people every week living livelier in the Gospel … new workers are stepping forward to do new things … we are learning to look at many things in new ways … the financial resources God is providing are beyond what we ever imagined. And it all started with many of us busying ourselves with worrying about what the future would bring. Busy … Busted … Bursting.
What does this mean? Well to me it is a clear indicator that, if God in Christ Jesus can be doing so much good during these difficult and disturbing times, the blessings I see bursting out all around are just a foretaste of the plethora promised for the future. So, he says to me, “Get busy and seize the day.” “Repent(do a 180 away from my complaining – busted again!), the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (and bursting with blessings).
God’s word is powerful. His word “repent” is not so much an order for me to turn around as it is his powerful hand taking me by the shoulders and heading me in the right direction (think ”profitable for reproof and for correction”). And I, for one, am praying that both his Word and his hand will keep me this day … busy … busted … and bursting with praise..