"Oh, Jesus Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, my Prophet, Priest, and King
my Lord, my life, my way, my end, accept the praise I bring.
How weak the effort of my heart, how cold my warmest thought,
but when I see Thee as Thou art, I'll praise Thee as I ought."
"Yeah, she really is amazing," I agreed through my half smile and clenched teeth hoping no one would notice.
The topic was a mutual friend who, in fairness, was incredibly talented, and so I wasn't lying when I contributed to the conversation. However, this friend (we'll call her Sarah) had also stayed completely silent in a recent conversation where I felt treated unfairly in a significant way. So, my praises of her many stellar qualities were far from gushing. In fact, you could say it almost pained me to speak truthfully about how wonderful she was as a person because that only reminded me how hurtful and personal I felt her betrayal had been.
It's not like I wanted her to scream and yell or get in someone's face for me. I was simply hoping for a word or two that let me know I wasn't alone in my experience. And as everyone was pointing out, Sarah had a knack for being incredibly insightful and wise. So, I fell quiet and listened, feeling like something was wrong with me while everyone continued to sing her praise.
Fast forward two months, and I was approached by the person who had treated me unfairly. He shared that Sarah had spoken to him several times on my behalf and helped him to work through some personal issues that had caused him to be unfair in the first place. He apologized and offered to sit down with me and find a solution that felt better for everyone involved.
Sarah never said anything to me about the conversations she was having on my behalf and when I thanked her later, she simply smiled and hugged me. Now Sarah is not God, and there are plenty of things that she could learn from this situation as well. However, once I knew the truth of what she had done for me, my heart softened, and my teeth un-clinched when I again had opportunities to praise her.
This made me think of my relationship with God. God's goodness, love, and grace to us is beyond measure, but so often my limited view obstructs my ability to praise.
How often do I feel judged -- like something is wrong with me causing God to reject me when in fact God is for me! Furthermore, God is at work not only as my Shepherd, Guardian, and Friend, but also as the Prophet, Priest, and King for all of humanity.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, today we thank You that Your love and grace to us extends far beyond our cold misunderstandings of You at work in the world, and we long to see You as You really are! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by AmyRuth Bartlett. It is based on the hymn, "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds," which is found on page 524 in the Lutheran Service Book.
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