Intro: During this Lenten season, every devotional will begin with a quote from C.S. Lewis (author and theologian), followed by two readings: 1) A passage from the Psalter and 2) a writing from one of the Old Testament prophets or New Testament authors. We will look at both passages as a whole through the fulfilling work and wisdom of Christ—Truth.
Prayer is essential during the wait times of suffering, because we are desperate for God’s strengthening of our souls; we know every affliction becomes our share in the Passion of Christ.
“We all try to accept with some sort of submission our afflictions when they actually arrive.” (CS Lewis; Chiefly on Prayer)
In our passage from the Psalter, David experiences pain that foreshadows the suffering of Christ. Yet, like our Messiah, in the most difficult times, David submits to God’s plan for his life because he knows the Lord is faithful. In the midst of every trial is ‘the wait.’ It would be nice if we could take a nap during the wait [weeks or months if necessary] and then wake up to a changed situation, but that is not an option for us. What do we do with the circular movements of our thoughts that lead to anxiety, unrest, and the inevitable temptation to take matters into our own hands? Whether we are waiting for medical results, reconciliation in relationships, or just dealing with the filth of the world that tries to cling to us and take dominion…the distress during the wait is real, so we must entrust our spirits to God and accept His will for our lives.
Psalm 31:1-5 NLT A psalm of David.
O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me; rescue me quickly. Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me, for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.
In our passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus prepares his disciples for the most glorious moment of his brief life—the upcoming cross where he will be exalted before the world. In our reading, we note this preparation of the disciples takes place during the Passover meal. Judas sits as a friend of Jesus, but has already decided to be a host for Satan and betray the Savior.
Jesus knows the heart of Judas, but chooses to look at him through the lens of grace. In fact, he looks at each one of his disciples through the lens of grace. How do we know? He stoops down—sacrifices his royal position—and takes the role of a servant to wash the filth of the world off from the disciple’s feet. It is symbolic of what Jesus will do for all humanity on the cross—when his sacrifice will make a person clean all over. Every disciple of Christ will face personal sacrifice that will require a servant’s heart and spirit that trusts God’s plan. We must follow-through, because Jesus sees this place of suffering as an opportunity to heal us and set us free!
John 13:1-11 NLT Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
1 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end [demonstrating genuine love]. 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas [Satan planned this for Judas], son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping us look deeper at the power found in the midst of suffering as we wait and trust you with a servant’s heart. Please heal us, Lord, and bring us into a greater place of spiritual freedom and oneness with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.