Ash Wednesday Reflection
It’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and the remaining half of my coffee is my ticket to the end of the line: last stop, Make-It-Through-The-Day-Ville.
Why do I feel like I need this afternoon coffee? Because I’m kind of tired. Why am I kind of tired? Because I didn’t get in a good 8 hours last night. Why do I need something like 8 hours of sleep to avoid being tired like this? I suppose, at the end of it, it’s because of my limitations.
What are we to do in the face of our limitations? We’re ever at a fork in the road, a choice between accepting or rejecting those limitations. But much of that choice hinges on whether we see those limitations as a result of our fallen-ness, or a result of our created-ness.
When we see our limitations as obstacles to be overcome, as flaws to be fixed, then running up against our limits is cause for frustration and anxiety.
But what if our limits are part of the way God made us? Running up against our limits, then, is cause for rest, freedom, and praise:
He is in control of every detail, so I don’t have to try to be.
He is the All-Everything God, so I am free to not be super-human.
He is on the throne, so that makes me his beloved servant and child.
God was very good when he established limitations for you. This doesn’t mean you should just accept everything about self and circumstance as it is today. Many face man-made limitations imposed by injustice and enforced by inequity. But as for our God-made limitations and God-authored story, we should receive these as a gift.
You can kick and scream against that which was chosen for you. You didn’t choose your birthday, gender, stature, family, dispositions, quirks, chronic ailments, vulnerabilities, and a host of other facets of life.
Or, you can accept your limitations in the Spirit of Jesus. Our Good God, unmade and unlimited, bridged the gap with us—made of dust, limited by design. Our Good God became one of us, taking our dust and limits upon himself in the person of Jesus. In him, the unlimited God subjected himself to our human limitations, and did so gladly. Today, on Ash Wednesday, can we follow in Jesus’ footsteps, embrace our limitations, and find for ourselves his joy and peace?
One limitation I’m having to accept today is wishing that we could gather like we did on this day last year, that I could worship alongside you through scripture and song, that I could mark your foreheads with a little mixture of oil and ash, and remind you of the goodness of how we’re made, and be reminded by you of the goodness of our Maker. But praise him! He is still good. We are still his people. And he is still at work, even when it feels like he’s not. Let’s wait and see what he’s up to.