Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 23

II Samuel 2:12-3:39; John 13:1-30; Psalm 119:1-16; Proverbs 15:29-30

Today’s Old Testament reading sounds like something out of a prime time TV drama series or maybe a reality show about a really crazy family.  We have battles, chase scenes, death, long-lasting animosity between families, wife re-stealing, lies, betrayal, and, finally, premeditated murder. All that in just two chapters.  Whew, I’m glad I wasn’t part of Saul’s or David’s family back then, aren’t you? And some people think the Bible is boring.

What I love about David’s character in this story, as well as in the previous drama with Saul, is that David continually refused to take retribution into his own hands. He would not retaliate or seek revenge for himself. He always took the stance that God would do the avenging, and “the Lord [would] repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds” (II Sam. 2:26). This is a good reminder for us that we don’t need to take control or seek revenge. We are patient in waiting for the Lord to bring the evildoer his just reward.

In our John passage, we again visit the Passover meal that Jesus enjoyed with his disciples before he is betrayed and crucified. This was a bittersweet time where he “showed them the full extent of his love” (Jn. 13:1), but also knew that even in spite of that all-encompassing love, one of them was going to betray him (vs. 22).

For me, these passages show the tension of everyday life having both good and bad simultaneously present. Rarely do we have days that are all good, or all bad. Usually there are elements of both in it.  And our good and bad for the day aren’t usually quite as dramatic as either of these biblical scenarios are. Yet somehow I think my life should always be easy and cheery. I resent the bad and only want the good. This is not reality, nor the way Jesus knew life on this earth would be.

Instead, I can embrace this dual nature of life here on earth and spend my time rejoicing in his statutes, mediating on his precepts, considering his ways, delighting in his decrees (see Ps. 119:14-16). As I do that, I become more aware of the hurts and needs of those around me.  As a nurse, I can embrace Proverbs 15:30 when it says that a “cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Many of my patients are in need of a cheerful face and words that offer hope and healing.

Where do you see the good and bad simultaneously in your life? How can you embrace them both? How can we trust God more, being patient for his actions, instead of taking matters into our own hands? Who around us needs a cheerful look or some good news? Lord Jesus, take me more and more out of the tendency to focus on my own life, and move me into the life of your kingdom.

- Mary Matthias

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