Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
Some wise church fathers noticed that observing a long period of fasting is difficult on our attitudes, so they decided to declare Sundays feast days during Lent. Our bodies, souls, and even our spirits need the break, so we can remind ourselves that we are accepted by God not because we fast but only because of Christ and because through faith we have received Him. Several spiritual dangers clog the path of fasting. Perhaps they can all be summed up under the category of simply forgetting about the grace of God.
We are terribly frail in terms of resolve and especially in balancing that with humility. When we don’t eat, we get discouraged, tired, grumpy, critical, prideful, and negative. When my wife and I were first married we began to notice that most of our arguments happened just before supper time, due mainly to the simple fact that we were tired and hungry. We decided that we would not argue until after we ate and that small decision immediately put an end to ninety percent of our arguments. Tired and hungry people normally feel more grumpy than spiritual.
Today is a day to remind ourselves of the strength of Christ and to rest in His grace. The earliest Christian song that children learn declares:
Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.
Anna Warner penned those words originally in a novel, Say and Seal, written in 1860, and they were sung by the protagonist as he walked the floor with a dying child in his arms. The depth and simplicity of their words have touched children and adults around the world. They are a sermon in and of themselves. They witness to the Savior’s love, to God’s word which tells us of Jesus, to our own position in Him as believers, to our weakness and to His strength.
We can search these same thoughts, plumb their depths, and discover encouragement. Jesus loves us, and it is His love that makes the greatest difference in our lives, not our striving, or our genius, our hoping, our talents, our wealth, or even our failures or poverty. The Bible gives us a witness to the Savior and we may choose to believe it or not but the testimony is strong and clear. He takes charge over His own and faith brings us not just a fleeting relationship but into being members of the family of God. He is not surprised by our weakness, for He has known us thoroughly and His strength is more than a match for our frailty.
Sundays are days to rejoice in the goodness of God, and in His grace through Jesus Christ. The way of God provides rest to our souls. We have a Savior whose strength more than compensates for our weakest traits, and even far excels our greatest attributes. Rejoice and rest in Him.
Lord, we are in awe of Your greatness and strength. Let us rest today in You, not striving to become acceptable by our works or our sacrifices, but through faith accepting that You have died for us and are risen for us as well. Hallelujah! What a Savior! Amen.