Daily Lent Devotional #37 (4/14/2011)

Today’s Topic:  “Openness with God”

Today’s Scripture:  Psalm 42: 1-6

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and 6 my God.

 

Today’s devotional includes a lot of great thoughts from author Henri Nouwen, focusing especially on the image of opening our closed hands before God.  Such honesty, transparency, and humility doesn’t come naturally to us and requires much practice.  May you learn to loosen your grip and dive deep into openness with God.

When you want to pray, then, the first question is: How do I open my closed hands? … Don’t be afraid of the One who wants to enter your most intimate space and invite you to let go of what you are clinging to so anxiously… Don’t be afraid to offer your hate, bitterness, and disappointment to the One who is love and only love. Even if you know you have little to show, don’t be afraid to let it be seen.

Often you will catch yourself wanting to receive your loving God by putting on a semblance of beauty, by holding back everything dirty and spoiled, by clearing just a little path that looks proper. But that is a fearful response—forced and artificial…Each time you dare to let go and to surrender one of those many fears, your hand opens a little and your palms spread out in a gesture of receiving. You must be patient, of course, very patient until your hands are completely open.

It is a long spiritual journey of trust, for behind each fist another one is hiding, and sometimes the process seems endless. Much has happened in your life to make all those fists and at any hour of the day or night you might find yourself clenching your fists again out of fear.

Dear God,

I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!

Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?

Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?

Please help me to gradually open my hands

and to discover that I am not what I own,

but what you want to give me.

And what you want to give me is love—

unconditional, everlasting love.

Amen.

Published in: on April 14, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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