Matthew 16:24-28

What am I to make of these images of power, violence, noise, brutality and death?  Am I to be awed by the irresistible power of God?  I am, but these readings don't make me feel good about it. Even parts of the Gospel seem harsh.  I must go through a passage of pain and suffering to be with Jesus.

My heart aches.  I slow down and pray to God for His gentle presence, His loving, comforting embrace.  The world is too much like the loud and frightening images in the passage from Nahum, and many days I just don't like it here.

Where is a safe place?

In the Matthew passage, Jesus says, "For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done."  If I had a spotless record I would feel safe.  But if I'm to be repaid for what I've done, then I'm frightened.

I have been sinful, selfish, prideful, just plain awful.  I've also done some good things, but thoughts of those good things don't lift me high in the same way that contemplating my wrongdoing brings me low.  If some judgment awaits, then I am afraid of it.

So where does that leave me?  It leaves me calling on the mercy of God.  It leaves me depending on the love of God.  It leaves me with a choice:  Do I dwell in fear and self-loathing, or do I step freely into the light and choose life with Jesus?

Oh, yes -- the world is frightening, God's power is awe-inspiring and I am weak and full of sin.  But I do have the power of choice, and Jesus tells me today that no matter how dark and ugly things might seem, there is a path into the light and life.

He always is open to me.

By Steve Klein

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