It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different Romans 7:23-25 (The Message)
My absence from blogging was partly due to the “gift” of a Kindle. I know, I know, I swore I wouldn’t have one, but it came to me in a round about way. Oldest son got one for his birthday and when only a few days later it broke, I bought him a second one in a fit of misplaced guilt. When warranty replaced the original, the new Kindle became mine. I use it a lot and while an electronic device cannot take the place of a book in my hands, it is a convenient novelty. Until I realized how much I was spending with Amazon for books that I could get free from the library. That led me to the ninety-nine cent list at Amazon where I found a book that a friend had recommended years ago. Several bloggers I know also have it on their must read list. It is called, “Stepping Heavenward,” by Elizabeth Prentiss and is a fictional diary of a young woman in the nineteen century named Katherine. I was immediately put off by Katherine’s struggle between a desire to “be good” and her willful human nature. The entries ricochet back and forth between sermons and whining over what she wants but cannot have. She professes to love her husband, then, loses her temper over a small slight. She offers to teach Sunday School then, regrets the time it takes away from her drawing. She vows to love all people and then, judges the next woman who knocks on her door. It dawned on me that the reason Katherine’s tale offended me so was because she was so much like me. I make lofty goals of cutting back on my spending only to buy book after book. I say I will eat less and then, give into the allure of the “hot donuts now” sign at Krispy Kreme. I obey God’s call and He works miracles, then, I return to my couch claiming I need to rest. My eyes are easily distracted by this world and like Katherine it hard to keep one foot here and one stepping heavenward. Katherine discovers that life must be lived one moment and one choice at a time. To serve God or to serve self. To share God’s message of grace or to keep it secret. To trust God in the dark or wail in despair. Katherine learns only through knowing Christ in a personal way can she love and live in a steady, consistent manner. The real reason that I stopped blogging wasn’t the distraction of the Kindle, but the fear that like Katherine, I am too pious one day and all too human the next. In the end, Katherine’s story showed me that I am not alone in my struggle nor are you. For just as Elizabeth Prentiss desired to uplift Christians of her day, I hope to encourage you as well. Despite our faults and failings, God loves us. That’s the story I have to tell.