Lenten Devotional: Thursday, March 3

by Andrea Farnham

Luke 18: 9-13 (NIV)
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

This may be more of a confession than a devotion but may it be of some edification for you. In the many gifts and blessings of growing up a missionary kid came also what some call the “fishbowl” experience where you are under high scrutiny and pressure to be perfect at all times, (i.e. a super human and super Christian).  This has various effects on people as you can imagine. I have spent a large part of the last 10 years rediscovering how to be authentic and this above passage captures the power and transformation that occurs in an authentic encounter with the Lord.

I don’t know what is so powerful about this parable for me except that it convicts me on a level that strikes through the façade. With people sometimes it is easy for me to put on a good face but with God there is no hiding. He sees our heart. This is one of my favorite parables that anchors me and reminds me how much God loves us no matter what. Sometimes I feel like I can’t come to God because I am just failing at life and he is just disappointed with me. I know intellectually that God loves me always no matter what but it is hard for me to embrace my humanity because it was always the thing I was hiding. It seems like at times my humanity is what is wrong with me. Yet it is the only thing that allows me to connect to God.

The above parable I think strikes a chord in me that it is only through embracing my humanity that I can really know God. How can I know myself if I don’t embrace the way God made me and how can I know God if I don’t see his image stamped in our humanity? It will continue to be a journey for me no doubt but the mission trip to Honduras showed me something beautiful about each of the people that went and deepened my appreciation for the imperfect way we try to love and show God’s love.

Prayer: God have mercy on me a sinner.