Day 22

When You May Be Found

from the Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross reading plan


Lamentations 4:1-11, Psalm 32:6-7

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Text: Lamentations 4:1-11, Psalm 32:6-7

I confess I’m easily, daily, hourly tricked by the exterior of a person — what they look like, where they live, what they do with their days, even how the world classifies them in terms of wealth and status and ethnicity and name. I confess I believe the lie that those things matter; I confess I have to remind myself of the person inside the person—the story and soul that make them who they are.

I remember reading CS Lewis’s essay “The Weight of Glory” for the first time, how it gripped my heart and imagination with the truth that people are just souls with bodies. I say “just” like it’s no big deal, but the truth is, it’s a very big deal. The biggest, actually. The folks I drove past on the interstate today, them in their car and I in mine; the nice young man who handed me our dinner at the drive-thru window on the way home from a late day; the woman who listened as my son breathed deeply in and out as he sat on the table in the doctor’s office; the mom who walked out of that room with her own sick boy just before we walked in—they are each the creation of a loving God. They are each the soul Jesus died to save.

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
– CS Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

Whew. It’s heavy, right?

But Lewis is right. These false classifications and temporary circumstances I confess to idolizing can change in an instant—but I hold them up nonetheless. I tend to judge myself just as harshly—What right do I have to my health and my home, my family and my job? And there I go, carrying false guilt around with my true guilt and wondering why it’s so hard to stand.

Like the gold and the stones in this passage from Lamentations, all the shiny things eventually tarnish and all the strong things soon scatter—and if my hope for myself and others is found in anything but God, I am tossed around like a dry leaf in the wind. Like the lady Jerusalem, I stand in ruins, longing just for a place to hide.

Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
– Psalm 32:6-7 ESV

The consequences of my sin are devastating, but more devastating still is my lack of repentance. Lack of repentance breeds shame, and shame whispers lies in my ear. Shame tells me I can’t be forgiven. Shame tells me I’m not worth forgiving. But the Cross tells a different story—the true story.

Jesus knew shame. The beloved hymn says it well:

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Jesus endured my shame on the Cross, every last ounce. He endured yours, too. When I’m guilty of shaming others… when I’m guilty of shaming myself… when I am guilty of forgetting who He is, who I am in Him, and who YOU are in Him — His sacrifice covers it all.

Will you seek Christ with me today just as you are, sin and all? Will you believe with me that He can be found? He is there on the Cross, with mercy enough for you and for me.

Matthew Henry writes, “In a time of finding, when the heart is softened with grief, and burdened with guilt; when all human refuge fails; when no rest can be found to the troubled mind, then it is that God applies the healing balm by his Spirit.”

May our hearts be softened by grief and burdened with a godly guilt that leads to repentance. When all human refuge fails—and, by God’s grace, even before!—may we repent and look to the Cross.

 

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Post Comments (75)

75 thoughts on "When You May Be Found"

  1. Cecile says:

    Amanda, you write so beautifully. Thank you for that devotional.
    I've been home sick with a cold the past couple of days and so I've been watching the horrible news about the videotape made by the OU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. And I know that, instead of condemning their behavior and going on my way, I have to look inside and acknowledge and confess my own prejudices, even when they are not as blatant as the hate displayed in that video. When I despise or look down on others who are outwardly different from me, I despise the majesty and variety of God's creation. May we all be forgiven and strive for something better.

  2. Crista says:

    I love the CS Lewis quote! I’ve been praying for God to allow me to see others as He sees them, but I had never quite thought about it as Lewis put it.

    My heart is breaking for a family member today who is crying out to God with his behavior. I’ve been crying prayers to God today. It seems like he’s at a place where he can completely reject God or drown in His love and mercy. If my heart breaks like this for him, why doesn’t it break for others both people I know who don’t know Jesus and strangers who are in need.

    Praying for my family and that God will show me what He wants me to see.

  3. Steph says:

    Yes!! Don’t want to be walking in shame, when Christ has paid the highest price so that we don’t have to walk in shame or sin anymore. Asking for a heart of repentance. To go before the cross humbly and be wrecked by God.

  4. Katherine says:

    This devotional and scripture really spoke to me and has challenged me to look hard at how I’m treating others (the other rude driver on the highway comes to mind)

  5. Beverly says:

    In the midst of a dinner conversation with my Husband last night, I had an intense moment of realization followed by an outburst of some very much needed tears and ugly sobs. Because for more than six years, I have been lugging around the pain and anger and shame of a professional decision made during a very sour time in my life. This poor decision has left me wandering in the wilderness, convinced God was disappointed in me (really I was disappointed in myself and projecting that on to God) and this was why I had trouble hearing Him and was not receiving any new blessings He might have had for me.
    And these lies, these false beliefs whispered ever so slyly in my ear all these years – are just not Truth. Yet they sought to convince me that my unresolved anger and hurt was okay to continue to dwell in and stay stuck. To float along, surviving, not really living – and wondering why God’s best for me felt like a fairytale, non-reality, impossibility. Because I had put my hope in the shiny things – a dream job, others’ approval and their judgement, and my own lofty expectations. And so I fell flat on my face covered in pride and all sorts of muck. Because as Amanda said, “…if my hope for myself and others is found in anything but God, I am tossed around like a dry leaf in the wind.” And for more than six years, I have felt dead to myself, purposeless, constantly striving yet never finding. The truth is that I was all those things because I was searching in all the wrong places. My failed attempts and half-hearted prayers got me no where.
    But God. (My all-time favorite two words!) He never left me. He has been patiently waiting for me to intentionally seek the fullness of Jesus, to find Him and take hold of Truth. Because nothing is impossible with God. He can restore me and heal my dead places of broken hopes and bitter relationships that have resulted from the shame and mess I’ve been needlessly carrying all these years.
    God restores. God heals. He has a beautiful purpose and plan for all of us, even now. Even when our broken hopes and repentances feel silly or less than. He uses ALL things for our good and His glory. He makes all things new. And this is the best news!
    So, yes! – I’m in. Seeking Christ today (and every day!)

    1. Gema Muniz says:

      Amen!I can relate to the way you feel, as I have also been trying to live up to societies standards and have felt miserable when I fall short. Last week I heard a message that snapped me out of this trance I was living in. The pastor spoke about How we miss out on what God has for us, on enjoying the moment because we are always seeking for more. Let’s live the moment and know that we are exactly where God wants us to be. Praying for me to always keep my eyes on God and not on the things of this world. God bless you sister.

    2. Sarah Martin says:

      Beverly! Oh your words and praise to the Lord is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us in such a real and authentic manner. Isn't it nuts how we can carry around guilt and shame for junk we did so long ago? I do the same thing. I've done stupid stuff in my past life when I worked in the corporate world as I lived caught up in the shiny and glittery–the things that fade away. I know it wasn't the job that made me act that way, it was my own lack of focus on Jesus. I love how you ended your post with such hope as you grasped on to the restoration and forgiveness that God offers us so freely— we often forget! Hugs!!!
      sarah

    3. Cailey says:

      Thank you so much for sharing, Beverly. This is right where I am at too. (Though for me, the wilderness season has been 7 years). When I struggle with being frustrated for “not seeing” things earlier-not truly believing all Jesus is for me- I have to remember that God is writing my story and that there is no condemnation.
      Thanks again for your honesty, transparency and for sharing the Hope you have in Jesus!

    4. Pamela says:

      Beverly: your message is inspiring. I have often focused way to much on my career and making a picture perfect life for my family and I when I should have been focusing more on my spiritual life. Thankfully having a beautiful baby girl (and another one on the way any day now) has opened my eyes to the important things in life: above all having a strong relationship with God, then my husband, then family and friends and LASTLY my career. Life is so much better setting my priorities straight. Many blessings!

    5. ~ B ~ says:

      But God – two of my favorite words also. I know it pains Him, watching us beat ourselves up emotionally. I have done the same thing Beverly. Past decisions, that haunted me into a quiet and regretful submission. One that worked to hold me back and keep me from flourishing in God's love for me. I will be prayerful that this realization for you grows you and that you are able to rid yourself of the pestering nuisance that seeks to encroach on your future. Love to you in this! ~ B

  6. StacyW711 says:

    Gayle–a courageous couple at our church shared their story of forgiveness and restoration after an affair. Maybe it can help you and your husband. Find it at baypres.org under video stories and then here. The couple starts at about the 7:20 mark: “At the close of the Restored by God sermon series, Bay Pres members share stories of God’s restoration in their own lives.”

    They—and him, in particular have been generous and grace-filled in sharing–even to our church marriage retreat and Mops groups. They are an extraordinary blessing. Maybe to you also. Praying for you both.

  7. Laura says:

    Thanks for these words this morning, and congrats on your new partnership. Quick question though, I read this with my study Bible this morning and was curious to hear more about the phrasing "surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.." part of Psalm 32. What does this mean? I clearly see that these verses encourage us to reach out to God and not wait, and I can't make some educated guesses, but the study Bible was not clear. But thoughts on this?

    1. Grace says:

      my study bible says that the terminology “great waters” is associated with Near Eastern creation myths, where usually a chaotic mass of water (sometimes depicted as a sea monster) had to be conquered by a god before he could create the world and rule over it. in these myths even after the world was created, the waters were a threat to its inhabitants and the order of the earth. “hence by association they were linked with anything that in human experience endangered or troubled that order.” hope this helps!! :) x

  8. Christine says:

    I love how I can walk away with something completely different in my reading, yet both takeaways ring just as true – that’s TRUTH! Going through Lamentations I am struck by just how wretched I am without Jesus! With out my Lord who came down from the highest high to have all the worlds sin and hate and judgement heaped upon His precious head. For me. For you. And we don’t deserve that – not even a tiny little bit.

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