Biography of a Soul…notes to a seeker.
Like St. Teresa of Avila, whose Abbess instructed her to write her Autobiography of a Soul, creating a map to follow toward the heart of God, I offer a Biography of a Soul, notes to encourage and equip your heart to seek God’s heart.
Like Screwtape to Wormwood, I make practical suggestions about how to continue toward God’s good will. Read on, won’t you?
Mary Cassatt, The Two Sisters, Public Domain
My Dear Seeker,
The Sabbath we’ve been discussing, described in Luke 4, gave Jesus the opportunity to announce who he was and why he had come into the world. When handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, he unrolled it and searched for the very words that would explain his purpose and his mission. In Isaiah, there are plenty of passages that show the Lord as judging, angry or punishing. Jesus did not choose one of these passages to reveal God’s heart toward the world. The closing phrase of Jesus’ mission statement captures God’s intention, “I came to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.” The year of the Lord’s favor, not the year of the Lord’s displeasure; favor, as in honor, acceptance, approval. Having made this announcement he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down.
End of story. Or should I say beginning of story?
You can begin your day with the expectation of God’s favor going before you preparing the way. Every meeting you enter, every conversation you have, every errand you run, all brim-full with the goodness of God for you. Live in this truth and your attitude toward all that fills your day will be different. Your eyes will be opened to see God’s activity all around you.
In a football game I recently watched the quarterback got sacked, injuring the shoulder of his throwing arm. The commentators kept referring to the way he “favored his right arm” as evidence of the pain the injury caused him. To favor an injured body part means treating it gently, not putting your full weight on it, and recognizing it needs special attention to return to full capacity.
God’s favor offers you such treatment. God knows you are injured, have been wounded, need to be protected from further harm and damage, and has given you the power of the resurrected Jesus Christ to guard and allow healing for your wounded soul and body.
Jesus ushers in the year of the Lord’s favor, not the moment, nor the day, nor even the week, but the year. This promises that every season of your life will be covered with the Lord’s favor over you. The Springs of your life, when all is new, fresh, bursting with life and energy; the Summers when life is slower and warmth has its healing and nurturing way in the earth and in your soul; the Autumns when death, disguised in beauty and brilliance is mingled with the abundance of a hard-earned harvest; and even the Winters, when you experience coldness, emptiness and are tempted to doubt the coming again of Spring; all seasons of your life come and go under the watchful and attending God of heaven and earth. All are opportunities to receive God’s favor.
As we speak of God’s favor, let this thought stretch your imagination, you are God’s favorite! Allow yourself to bask in the pleasure of being God’s favorite. You are the only you and you are God’s favorite you! Think about it this way, I bet you have many pairs of shoes. Each pair was purchased because you liked them. You have a favorite pair of running shoes, a favorite pair of shoes you wear with your jeans, and a favorite pair of slippers you wear around the house. All your shoes are your favorite ones. In the same way, God loves all of us equally, and each of us is the favorite child, created for the exact purpose of living the life with which we are blessed.
Go forth in the light of God’s favor resting on you, walking before you, following you; know that God’s favor hovers over you, protecting and covering you; the very ground you walk on is the favor of God underneath you, holding and establishing you.
You are God’s beloved.
With you on the journey,