Struggling with God

Daily Reform, 2 Chronicles 6:24-31

From the Reformer

Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and to pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and even before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept such forgiveness. For since the flesh in which we daily live is of such a nature that it neither trusts nor believes God, and is ever active in evil lusts and devices, so that we sin daily in word and deed, by commission and omission by which the conscience is thrown into unrest, so that it is afraid of the wrath and displeasure of God, and thus loses the comfort and confidence derived from the Gospel; therefore it is ceaselessly necessary that we run hither and obtain consolation to comfort the conscience again.

—Martin Luther, The Large Catechism

Pulling It Together

How can God forgive someone like me? It is a common question and there again, it was being asked by a young disciple. Steve tried and tried to be good enough for God. He had in fact, become quite a Christian, admired by many in the church for his understanding of the Bible, his clever way with words, and his compassion. Yet there was one person for whom he held no compassion despite his knowledge of the scripture. Himself. Why couldn’t he do better? Why couldn’t he overcome his sins? He believed that God forgave sins but could not quite bring himself to truly believe that God would forgive the likes of him. After all, he still sinned; why would God forgive someone as willful as himself? Finally, he left the church because of this unbelief.

Yet God did not give up on him and continued to draw him to himself. Eventually, though he still struggles with sin, he no longer struggles with God. He accepted God’s forgiveness—a pardon that even includes someone like Steve…and you.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

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