Psalms 56, 57, (58); Jeremiah 1:11-19; Romans1: 1-15; John 4: 27-42
God keeps count of “my tossings,” the Psalmist writes in Psalm 56, and “put my tears in your bottle.” I am reflecting upon the stresses of life that underlie my own reactions during times of trial. I see that through trial I am forced to recognize the positive creative force that surrounds me. I am taught through harsh experiences and sometimes through painful regret to turn to the Unseen which Paul names “the evidence of faith” (Heb. 11:1). This is a hard road to recognition, but I think many find their way by it. I certainly cannot speak for anyone but myself.
Drawing from my Methodist roots, I learn that Experience along with Tradition and Reason are the ways in which scripture needs to be interpreted. One might say that each individual creates their own culture, a culture bounded by the limitations imposed by life over which they have no control, by their inherent physical traits, and their will. I’ve heard it said that a person has two things to overcome by their will: their heredity and their environment. “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” said Paul (Phil. 2:12). However long we must be battered about by living before we start to do this is up to us. God knows us better than we know ourselves, but we also need to examine our inner being. “Seek and ye shall find,” we are prompted in Matt. 7:7. We can seek without and within.
We are engaged in destructive cycles of thought or action. We can choose to draw from the power of faith to fuel our will and try new patterns of living. Are we afraid to fail? Failure really teaches us the ways in which we should NOT proceed in the future; it informs us about what to avoid. Will failures be repeated? We flawed humans do not always learn in one lesson, but the many passages in scripture about forgiveness assure us we are forgiven whenever we truly repent of our mistakes. God “heals our backslidings” (Jer. 3:22). The Creator helps us along our journey and has provided us with a record of the highest perceptions of the witnesses of the life of Jesus. Let us all experience being healed and guided by this record.
Julie Hirsch has been attending St. Margaret’s since 1965. She has continually participated in Adult Education classes and worked as a volunteer in Outreach.