A Prayer for Reconciliation in Christ By Jessica Van Roekel
"For he himself is our peace, who had made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father." - Ephesians 2:14-18, ESV
Do you ever forget important items? I love sticky notes for keeping track of phone calls I need to make, grocery items I need to pick up, and tasks I need to finish. I tend to put things in "safe" places rendering them forgotten, never to be found again. This usually results in a mad dash through drawers and cabinets looking for the "safe" item. As we follow Jesus, it's important to look ahead to our future with him and to remember his faithfulness in our past. I try to live in the moment to soak up the sights and sounds around me. It's the time of year when the birds return from their winter migration, and their pre-dawn songs fill the air. By noon, I'm so entrenched in daily tasks I don't even notice the sound of the birds. I find myself doing the same with God. I see him present with me momentarily, but I forget his faithfulness until I face an unexpected hurdle. I want to connect the past with the present, but they seem at odds.
Looking back can be good or bad, depending on our focus. Fixating on the present doesn't allow the memories of the past to inform us. For example, we may forget the way God made for us through a seemingly impossible situation. We've long forgotten God's faithfulness when we face another unexpected problem this week. We question where God is and how he could allow this to happen. We forget the past, which proves his faithfulness when we face an unexpected hardship in our present
Our memories and our current realities can wage war and seem irreconcilable. These can make it hard to remember our inheritance in Christ. There are three things Christ accomplished for us that can help reconcile our past and present. They will help encourage us in our journeys through the shadowed valleys of life.
Do you ever feel God is hard to reach? I do, especially because of unanswered prayers or unmet expectations. But Jesus brought us near to God. The phrase brought us near, is how the ancient world described the relative physical distance a person lived from Jerusalem. The closer your proximity to Jerusalem, the closer you were to God. Because of Jesus, we don't have to be near Jerusalem to be close to him. He is near to us. Sometimes, we turn our back on him, but he doesn't turn away from us.
Unexpected problems can stand as a barrier to peace. They can interfere with sleep and our ability to focus on our daily tasks because a problem stands in the way. We can wrestle all night long, wake up, and work half-distracted because we mull over the problem. It can get so big that it prevents us from peace. But Jesus, through his death, brought peace. The kind of peace holds us steady when the storm rages. Our sin separated us from him, and he bridged the gap because reconciliation was Jesus' objective. It can sometimes feel like our hardships in life can separate us from God. I know how it feels to wonder if God is still for me because I don't like how he's moving in my life. But Jesus made it possible for us to enjoy God's presence continually, even when life doesn't go our way.
Let's Pray: Holy God, It feels like my circumstances are standing in the way of my relationship with you. I can sometimes forget how you showed your faithfulness in my past when faced with unwanted present circumstances that paint an uncertain future. I don't know how to reconcile what I know to be true about you with what I'm thinking and feeling. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to bring me near to you, give me your peace, and reconcile my past with my present. You are faithful through it all, and I am so grateful! In Jesus' name, Amen
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.com You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
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