I can’t remember ever feeling as broken as I felt on Good Friday.
Over the last number of months, the Lord has been progressively showing me more and more of my sinful tendencies and weaknesses. He would bring conviction; I would respond with partial obedience. He would direct my steps; I would respond with doubts. He would call for surrender; I would cling to idols.
As life around me changed in keeping with the increasing precautionary measures put in place to respond to Covid-19, I felt increasing conviction that something needed to change. I needed to surrender, to stop running and trust that the Lord knew best. So I did. But I didn’t feel the peace I expected to receive.
You see, in the past, when conviction pressed upon me, I would act and would find relief. I would repent of sin, embrace the comfort of obedience, then quickly forget the weight of sin in the absence of the Spirit’s pressing. Much like the Pharisees in Jesus’s day, I was convinced I was obedient so long as I just kept the letter of the Law.
This time, however, I repented of my sin but still felt off. The comfort I’d come to expect was withheld, and, in its absence, I was left to reflect on my relationship with the Lord.
In this period of isolation, I’ve been searching my heart and soul, seeking the Lord in the Bible and in prayer. I don’t think I’m presently walking in disobedience. Nevertheless, I feel broken. In the absence of physical community, I’m left to reflect on the ways I’ve gotten it wrong, the ways I’ve served myself over the Lord. I reflect on the ways my actions have affected others, the ways I’ve been a burden rather than a servant, the ways I’ve been faithless rather than faithful. I feel my sin and my weakness more deeply than I can remember, and I’m sorry for them.
And in a way, I think such brokenness is appropriate. I don’t like to accept weakness. I want to believe I’m better than I am, that I’m further along in the process of sanctification. I want to be more faithful than I am, more steadfast than I am, more above reproach than I am. I want to do good, but evil lies close at hand. The good I want to do, I don’t do, and the evil I do not want to do, I do. I think I’m starting to understand Paul’s frustrating struggle in Romans 7. As I reflect on the cross, I can’t deny my contribution.
I want to walk in peace and in joy. I’m tired of weakness and sin. I’m tired of still struggling when I think I should be finished with these lessons. In short, I want to celebrate Easter and feel my spirit lifted. But I’m not there yet.
So I wait, looking to the cross where sin — my sin — was dealt with once and for all. I mourn and repent, knowing the weight of sin’s cost, but knowing too that it is finished, that Christ completed the work. I mourn in hope. Friday was dark, and Saturday may be long, but Sunday is coming soon.
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash