Sunday: Psalm 25; Isaiah 9.1-7; 3 John

From: Ashley Gray

As we entered into Advent, I felt like I’d already been sitting in this season a long while. 2016 has been a challenging year on a lot of personal fronts, and as I’ve prayed and waited for relief, for clarity, for harmony, the gulf between how things are and how things will be—particularly in my own heart and mind—has felt insurmountable. David’s words in Psalm 25, in which he likens his sin and afflictions to a net tangled around his feet (v. 15), resonate deeply with me.

Reading David’s petitions for the Lord to see, deliver, instruct, and forgive him, I was struck by how he describes the recipients of God’s loving guidance. The Lord instructs sinners (v. 8), leads and teaches the humble (9), makes his covenant known to those who fear and obey him (10, 14). Voiced from a place of loneliness and pain, David’s prayer that God would make His ways known to him reminds me of the journey to hope through suffering that Paul describes in Romans 5; similarly, Psalm 25 suggests that a posture of humility fosters maturity. In both cases, as we persevere through hardship, our character is changed. 

This is not immediately comforting, I must admit. I’m battle-weary. It’s hard to see the fruits of struggle while you’re still in the thick of things. But during this long, often difficult wait for Christ to reconcile all things, including our own brokenness, Advent encourages us to come with great expectations. As I continue to grapple with the weight of my lack and longings, I’m praying God will help me trust that his promises are for me as I am, a sinner, not the me I wish I were, and that he will keep me expectant for the unfathomable ways in which I will be changed. 

I’m a Midwest girl who fell hard for New England, though I desperately wish Boston could produce a decent deep-dish pizza.