“We misunderstand God altogether if we think He deals coarsely with our souls.”
My journey through Lent this week has given me new thoughts on old stories. The stories were part of the daily devotions from Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter. I revisited the story of Jesus driving the merchants out of the temple for buying and selling there.
Am I like the merchants?
I reread the story of Thomas who declared that “unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” John 20:25
Am I like Thomas?
The story of Peter is another one. Not only did Peter fall asleep in the garden when Jesus asked he and his other friends to keep watch but he denied he knew him. Peter turned his back on the very One he confessed as the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Am I like Peter?
Yes. I’m like them.
How many times have I tried trading with God….tried to get something from God in exchange for my faith or good deeds? “Look what I’m doing God. I’m serving and giving and studying. I’m working hard for You. Now bless me. Make my life comfortable and give me what I want.”
I’ve been the one not believing….not trusting until I can see. “Show me Lord, then I’ll trust You.”
My denial doesn’t look the same as Peter’s but I’ve turned my back on the One who loves me with an everlasting love. By not following Him. By not loving others. By withholding forgiveness. By causing others to feel less than.
But God doesn’t deal coarsely with our souls.
God is kind when He reminds me that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
God is patient when I have doubts and fears. As Jesus did for Thomas, in His mercy He will give me the “grace of interior vision, the gift of the opening of the heart, and of its surrender.”
God is tender with me when I’ve turned my back. It was Jesus who turned to look at Peter as he was denying him for the third time. (Luke 22:61) There wasn’t judgment in Jesus’ eyes. There was love.
And I am thankful for His kindness.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
For more thoughts on our Lenten journey visit my friend, Joy, at her website A Life-Giving Moment.