“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Last night was one of great celebration and invitation. We finished our walk through the Lord’s Prayer and I think it’s safe to say that none of us will ever pray or read it in the same way. And what a profound ending to our journey together with all that caffeine and dessert!
Actually, last night was yet another reminder to me of God’s grace and mercy. I am so prone to wander away from him, so prone to sin, and so, to be reminded of God’s promise, and his desire, and his faithfulness to lead me through my every temptation, trial, and test was almost more than I could bear. Jenna Perrine described to us, in such a tender way, God’s invitation to us to surrender to his leadership even, or especially, in the midst of temptations and tests. Oh, did I see myself in her description of our typical response to temptation: buckle down, power through, white knuckle, lead yourself! But my hands started to relax and my heart began to slow as she read the words of Psalm 23. I had not ever considered that God was close, leading and guiding, in my temptations and trials, but rather that he was watching from a distance, disappointed.
As we practiced surrendering, I realized that I had only ever believed that God would lead me through the good things, the right choices, and the best decisions. Could it be that God’s promise and desire is to also lead us through the hard stuff, the worst judgment calls, and our darkest moments? It could not have been clearer to me as we came to the table to receive communion that the answer to this is “yes.” It is true. “How deep is the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.”
My best guess is that my surrender to God’s leadership will be a decision I’ll have to make over and over and over. The question we asked last night in the silence will serve us all so well though: “Good Shepherd, how are You inviting me to surrender to Your leadership today?” And as we move into Lent, this time set apart in the calendar to reflect and mark the 40 days before resurrection Sunday, would you join me in asking this question and practicing surrender?
We will be posting the Lord’s Prayer Benediction in the next week or so and please look for some great posts and resources about Lent over the next two weeks.
May you, in the midst of the darkest valley, surrender to the leadership of the Good Shepherd, who leads you through every trial and every temptation and delivers you from all evil,