Reflection April 3
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
I stopped at a local coffee shop to write this Lenten reflection, and as soon as I stepped through the door, I locked eyes and exchanged smiles with a familiar face -- a previous landlord. Skyler and I had just returned from New Zealand when we met her. We were twenty years old, had only been married a few months, and my belly was swollen with new life. All our plans had been uprooted by this pregnancy, and we needed to find a place to live quickly. She was kind and enthusiastic to have us as tenants once she learned of our involvement with YWAM. We assured her that Skyler would nail down a job soon, I was going back to work at the bank, and making the rent payments on time wouldn’t be an issue. We signed the lease and moved in. A few weeks later, after Skyler had settled back into C of O, we realized we were in over our heads. We couldn’t afford to stay living in that little house. When we called her to tell her our situation, she initially met our request to move out with warranted frustration. But a few hours later she called us back and extended us great mercy. She gave us our deposit back and didn’t charge us another month's rent despite the lease’s requirement to pay monthly rent until another tenant moved in. As I walked to the counter to order my coffee, I felt the Lord say, “Remember when Carol feasted on the abundance of my house?”
Abundance. The Lord extends his abundance to the children of mankind who call on His name. This abundance is, of course, antithetical to the abundance of Western Culture around us. Instead of storing up money, food, material possessions, or power, the abundance of the Kingdom looks a lot like weakness, humility, and foolishness. We find His abundance in dying to self, laying down our rights, and surrendering to the Father. Feasting on the abundance of the Kingdom looks a lot like Jesus, whose death became for all people ‘the fountain of life’. We live in His abundance when we invest in the economy of His Kingdom; by sowing steadfast love, grace, long-suffering, and mercy -- even when (especially when) others least deserve it. His Spirit empowers us to do this because His light illuminates the truth about ourselves, those around us, and the situations we find ourselves in. ‘In your light do we see light.’
Our landlord Carol saw us in the light of Christ. She chose to be inconvenienced and laid down her right to collect hundreds of dollars from us. She chose to see us not as irresponsible kids (which we were), but as two souls feeling our way through the dark of imminent parenthood. Carol’s act of mercy reminded me that Christ saw us and that his love was indeed steadfast. My prayer for all of us this Lenten season is that we would not be deceived by the allure of accumulating money, power, or intellect to compound a false sense of worth but that we would draw from the Lord’s abundance, feast at His table in the midst of our enemies, find refuge in the shadow of His wings, and invest in the economy of His Kingdom.