Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Pain of Denial

I was listening to an older song by Third Day called “Can’t Take the Pain” (lyrics below). This song is about Peter’s denial of Christ (Matthew 26:69-75) and the pain he felt afterward; and how that pain doesn’t compare to the pain Jesus suffered for him. I think God used this song to speak to my heart. I can’t escape it. Here’s what he said: “Every time you sin, you deny my Son. Every time you get full of yourself, you deny my Son. Every time you think you’re doing fine without me, you deny my Son. Every minute you don’t cry out to me, you deny my Son.”

The last verse strikes me particularly hard. I can’t even fathom why Jesus would suffer for me or for all. I am so completely unworthy of it, yet He suffered scourge and crucifixion anyway. “But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful” (Romans 5:8, Contemporary English Version). It grieves my heart to imagine that every time I sin I’m denying Him.

In an earlier post (Bound & Broken, March 9, 2009) I mentioned that my prayer was for a broken and contrite heart. Hmm…

No, I didn't see this one coming
It suddenly snuck up on me
I can't say you didn't tell me so
I can't say you didn't warn me

I can't take the pain of knowing that I left You
I can't bear the shame of knowing I was wrong
But I'll take the blame for everything that I've done
I can't take the pain of leaving you alone
Of leaving you alone

I was there when they accused you
but I guess I was too afraid
Not just once and not just twice
But three times I denied your name

I never thought I'd get even a second chance
But you've given that and so much more
And then for every time I ever did deny
You ask me if I love you, You know I do, Lord

So I'm off to follow in your steps
it won't be easy, it's safe to say
There are only tow roads I can walk on down
The road less traveled is the one you paved

Lord, You took the pain even though I left You
And You took the shame and You made it all Your own
Why'd you take the blame for everything that I've done?
Lord, You took the pain
You and You alone, You and You alone

Authors: Brad Avery, David Carr, Mac Powell, Mark Lee, Tai Anderson
Copyright 1999 New Spring (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)
Vandura 2500 Songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Broken & Bound (revised)

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim freedom for the captives
And release from darkness for the prisoners

I was reminded of this passage this morning. The one part that really struck me was “...He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...” This of course brought to mind other passages that talk about being brokenhearted.

Isaiah 57:15
For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Psalm 34:17-18
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;

he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 51:16-17
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

The thought that really struck me was this: What does it take? There are so many who are suffering egregiously. Just listen to or read news headlines on any given day and you will see for yourself. What does it take to be so brokenhearted that we have no choice but to follow God? One definition of brokenhearted I found was “broken to pieces.” How many pieces does my heart have to be broken into before I surrender everything to God?