Anglican Morning Devotion for 20 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.”
(Psalms 90:9; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
How often have we been reading some great literature, or even a news report, and decided to peek at the last sentence to learn how the story ends? Well, our very lives are very much like a tale that is told, or a book that is written. We may be tempted to wonder when it all ends, and rightly so. But the Christian believer is not so much concerned about when our story of life ends as he is concerned about how! Will we persevere in the faith until the end, or will we fall far short of great blessings with which Christ has entrusted us?
Our life’s story is not one of our personal success and goodness, but of the great glory and blessing that God has bestowed upon all of simple faith. It is the faith that we have received by grace that will be our running lights to avoid the shoals and reefs of life. The great poet, Tennyson, sums the matter well:
CROSSING THE BAR
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
I suppose our Life’s tale shall depend upon who the author of our tale may be – ourselves, or Christ – who pens the lines and determines the plot. Shall our life’s story end as the Law of the Old testament with the word curse (“. . .Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6) – all that the law can allow), or with “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen..” (Romans 16:24) It is God’s grace that will see us through and no merit of our own. Of course, our salvation will result in good works, but good works are not the cause of it – it is all of GRACE!
Our life’s story is being written line by line and page by page by the all-seeing Scribe. In one Hand is the pen, and for the saved of God, in the other is an eraser to blot out repented sins. The eraser defines the grace by which we are saved and the means whereby God has promised to remember our sins no more. “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34b) For the unregenerate, that eraser will only be used to blot out the names of the lost from the Book of Life (if it was ever found there).
Consider the irony of poor Job’s expressed hope: “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. 28But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? 29Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.” (Job 19:23-29) It is not possible to have a heavenly book of our lives unless Christ is the main character as He is with Job.
Take a peek at the end line of your story and, if you have made your election sure, you will find Christ there. What a wonderful end we see expressed in the story of Job, and his words were indeed written and printed in a Book for the eyes of eternity to witness. And even Job’s name, and the names of the elect, are graven in the very palms of the Lord’s hands. “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:16)