March 18, 2023
Today’s Reading: Introit for Lent 4 Ps. 27:4-6; antiphon: Ps. 25:15
Daily Lectionary: Gen 41:1-27, Mark 11:1-19
Psalm 25:15: “My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.”
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. As a pastor, when the Lord promises rescue, I secretly get scared. I’ve been around cancer that isn’t healed. Paralytics that still can’t walk. Addicts who relapse. I’ve heard poor sinners’ desperate words and joined them in their litanies. God still said no. And I’m afraid He’ll do it again. I’m embarrassed. Of my lack of faith. But also, a little bit of Him.
It’s easier to preach about a God who’s miracles work more like a vending machine. The 27th Psalm is for my fear and shame. David shows us where to look in days of trouble. We look for rescue in the things of this world. God promises it in His house. The shelter is in the House of the Lord. The victory is given where the sacrifices are.
It isn’t just a “look on the bright side, one day you’ll go to heaven” platitude. It’s a question of which is stronger. The prayers I’ve wanted to be answered were rooted in a fear God wouldn’t help. He already has. The temple is where He gives the victory. Forgiveness that relapse can’t undo. Salvation that isn’t measured in remission. Resurrection that accident and age can’t cripple.
The things we’re so afraid of can’t actually hurt us here. We are gathered in a fortress that stands as a shield against everything else. It’s a question of where God works. Of how He answers prayers. The desperate litanies are met by a Jesus already risen from the grave, promising us the same. Look at where Jesus is, not where you’re afraid He won’t be. He’s in your church, giving good gifts of victory over all you’re so afraid of.
In a world where everything falls down, David pleads to be found in the house of the Lord. Because it will be left standing afterwards, even as Christ is risen. Sometimes I’m afraid God will say no. Joy isn’t found in the fear and the shame of it. So God lifts me up out of it and sets me on the rock, that is Christ. In Him, in His death and resurrection, I have a yes already given for me, and for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Why spend the day in blank despair, In restless thought the night? On your Creator cast your care; He makes your burdens light. (Rejoice, My Heart, Be Glad and Sing, LSB 737:3)
– Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.