Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Life At Its Best - 4 on Perseverance

A quote from chapter 11, Perseverance:
The cornerstone sentence of Psalm 129 is, 'The Lord is righteous.' When the Bible says that God is righteous it is not saying that he is always right (although it, of course, assumes that) but that he is always in right relation to us. The word does not mean that he corresponds to some abstract ideal of the right, it speaks of a personal right relationship between Creator and his creation. '...Righteous is out and out a term denoting relationship, and that it does this in the sense of referring to a real relationship between two parties...and not to the relationship of an object under consideration to an idea.'
That the 'Lord is righteous' is the reason that Christians can look back over a long life, crisscrossed with cruelties, unannounced tragedies, unexpected setbacks, sufferings, disappointments, depressions - look back across all that and see it as a road of blessing and make a song out of what we see. 'Solely have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.'
-- p. 115-116, Life At Its Best by Eugene Peterson

The second paragraph is amazingly beautiful, and I could say that I agree with it. However, I was a little bit taken back by the first paragraph where Peterson emphasised the relational sense of the word, 'righteous' over the sense of justice and goodness. I don't think Peterson is completely wrong about the word, 'righteous', but I felt that the relational 'part' of that word was slightly over-emphasised to a point where the main meaning of it is brushed off to a side almost.
Ok, well, maybe I'm the one who's missing the point here. What Peterson says next made a good sense to me and was very encouraging and helpful.
God sticks to his relationship. He establishes his relationship with us and stays with it. The central reality of Christians is the personal, unalterable, persevering commitment that God makes to us. Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God's faithfulness. We survive in the way of faith not because we have extraordinary stamina but because God is righteous. Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God's righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God's will and purposes; making a map of faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasms. It is out of such a reality that we acquire perseverance.
-- p. 116, Life At Its Best by Eugene Peterson

Thank God for His faithfulness...

No comments: