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Advent Day 11: Midweek Rest

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

-Isaiah 9:4-6

I’m so often surprised by the way my heart wanders. I shouldn’t be, not after two and a half decades of living with myself in this broken world. But even still I am taken aback.

It happens in a moment, often without warning. There I am, enjoying the morning’s blessings – pleasant conversation over breakfast, a hot cup of coffee, bright sunshine. I spend some time in prayer, I soak up words of exhortation and truth. I thank God for all the grace in the day. And then, like a storm arising from the calm, in a matter of moments I am flustered by unexpected interruptions. The fluster leads to frustration which leads quickly to acting out in anger and annoyance. The graces seem gone and in their place are hot tears, angry looks and biting comments. In the short time between my morning devotions and interactions with people my heart has wandered. In the midst of my frustration and fluster caused by an interruption to my plans and desires I chose resentment and retaliation rather than grace and forbearance. I have wandered away from the love of God extended to me by choosing to not extend it to others. I have squandered the lavish grace in this day by withholding it from others in their time of need.

I wish I was the only one whose Wednesday went from basking in grace to trampling over it in defiance in a matter of minutes. But I’m sure in not alone. We all wander. We all lose sight of the wondrous grace that has been extended to us. We all fail to take that grace and walk in it. We all find ourselves choosing act out of our anger and our frustration rather than acting out of the grace we’ve received. It is the pattern of our humanity.

With every defiance of grace we take on the yoke of sin. It is a heavy yoke to bear. Crushing even. With it comes guilt and shame and condemnation. Each sin leading to another, taking us further from abundant life and closer to a life of isolation. Even the slightest wanderings create a load that weighs heavily on our shoulders.

And in the defeat of the day there it is, the small whisper. Come to me, take my yoke, it’s load is lighter, easier. Find my grace again. He will shatter the yokes of sin. He will break the bindings that have held you captive. He will lead back to His grace. You need only to come to him.

And if tomorrow you find yourself taking on another yoke of sin, His arms are open. Come to me, again, and I will give you my rest – again – and you will have my peace. It’s the beauty of saving grace. More beautiful than any common other grace. The grace that is extended to us, over and over again, no matter how often we wander.

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