“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing yet had been done.”
~ C.S. Lewis ~
Why do we have to start from scratch every morning in exercising our faith? That’s the question this quote made me ponder.
Two thoughts keep coming to me. The first is a cliche, but true: Every day is a blank slate. And that cuts both ways.
Every day we start out sinless, of course. Until we’ve awakened, had our morning coffee and ventured back into life, so to speak, we have not yet had a chance to make mistakes. So there is that precious, perfect window of time each day when the sins of yesterday have been washed away and none have yet been amassed this day. If only we could stay in that space of time longer . . . indefinitely . . . life would be so much easier.
But, of course, we can’t. We have to work, go to school, interact with others . . . and that’s when our flaws come into play and those hash marks start adding up on that formerly blank slate. A white lie here, a thoughtless word there, a callous heart after lunch . . . next thing you know, it is dinner time and we have plenty to reflect upon and ask forgiveness for.
The other thought, more difficult to live out on some days than others, is that every day brings new events and occurrences can we can only survive by faith.
For instance, every day we find ourselves in harm’s way. Iris at Sting My Heart1 wrote a great article last week about conducting ourselves responsibly and faithfully in traffic. It served as an excellent reminder to all of us that we are Christians every moment of every day and must strive to conduct ourselves accordingly.
But every time we get into our car, take a flight or even walk across the street, we are a split second away from danger. Each day we send our children out into the world and can only pray for their safe return to us each evening. A friend is having surgery tomorrow, another is getting medical test results . . . each day we must rely on our faith to pull us through the many challenges we face.
So each day has a ying and a yang, but all days culminate in the same result: Sin followed by forgiveness; questioning followed (hopefully) by acceptance through faith. Each day we mess up in some way, large or small, and must return to the foot of the cross for the forgiveness we find there. Each day we also have to live in the world with all of its calamities, disasters and unanswerable questions. Again, we must travel to the foot of the cross to make any sense of all of it, as well as to rejoice in the happy miracles that we experience.
I jokingly tell people that when I cross over and arrive in front of those “Pearly Gates,” I have a lot of questions that I want answered. And since I’m an attorney, I know how to ask great questions! I laughingly swear that I am not budging — I’m not going through those gates — until I get the answers I seek.
Among my questions is this: Why do I have to take time to sleep? I could get so much more accomplished and check off so many more items on my “to-do” list if I just didn’t have to stop and waste time sleeping every night! It totally exasperates me!
The reality is, of course, that our bodies rest while our minds continue to work during sleep. That’s when we work out a lot of problems, issues. We’ve all had the experience of opting to “sleep on it” and voila! — things really do “look better” in the morning, just as we were promised they would. Similarly, have you ever been troubled about something and, during restful sleep, had an answer revealed to you clearly, unequivocally? I have.
That’s because, my silly joke about hating to sleep aside, God’s system is perfectly designed and without flaws: We need to rest and be refreshed so that we can begin each day anew, unburdened by our previous mistakes and wrongdoing, and able to sustain our faith because our strength has been renewed.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16