When I was soaking in the Cleansing Stream seminar (one of the things I felt I should undergo before heading back to Singapore and into seminary), I put up a bunch of verses around my rented apartment, rendering them in stark black marker on white drawing stock. When I returned to my triangular bedroom back home, I put them up again with sticky tape. Well, my official departure from the shores of Hong Kong was 15 months ago, the drawing stock has yellowed and yesterday the penultimate bit of sticky tape gave way. And only this verse remains:
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Yes, this verse refers to the hard-hearted, rebellious Israelites, facing exile and humiliation for their unfaithfulness and injustice. No, I am not a few millenia old, that this verse would apply to me directly. But, I concur:
Prone to harbouring secret idols. Prone to responding with superstition. Prone to lingering over temptation. Prone to forgetting. Prone to ingratitude. Prone to being too easy on myself and too hard on others — so it’s OK for me to fall behind schedule, but not for God to keep to his perfect timing?
But my Father’s grace is always enough. To shelter under, to blunt the force of wicked weather while sharpening my awareness of utter and complete dependence on the One who created me because he wants me around, who submitted to utter and complete dependence as a helpless baby in the arms of his mother because he wants me with him for an eternity.
So, to me, this fallen human alive partway to three millenia later, the verse applies and is a promise that God keeps, day after day, moment by moment. His faithfulness to his love for me makes me feel I am waking into life, even though I perilously, foolishly let the stupor entice now and then.
Lord, please may I be faithful as you are, loving as you are, kind as you are, gracious as you are, patient as you are, joyful as you are, empathic as you are, trusting in you and not my ‘wisdom’, regarding others as better and looking to their interests instead of mine — scandalous as this still sounds to me. Let me recall with constancy that evening on a corner of the rooftop, meeting again the despair that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, emptying myself of false hopes and fears, and being filled with the faith and determination to accept the cup you choose to give me in this and every season. Amen.