“I shall not die, but live, and I shall tell of the works of the Lord. As he disciplines, the Lord has disciplined me (παιδεύων ἐπαίδευσέ με ὁ Κύριος, наказуя наказа мя Господь), but he has not given me over unto death.” (Ps 117: 17-18, Septuagint-translation)
I shall not die, but live! – I say this morning, just as we say at the beginning of Matins, when we sing “The Lord is God.” It is sometimes tempting, after a difficult experience, to “die” a spiritual death, to lose heart and stop praying, having lost hope in God and also in humanity. This might be our reaction when we suffer a painful loss, say, of a loved one who has either abandoned us or died; or when we suffer the loss of a job or position, or of our physical health.
But the Psalm-verse quoted above invites me to grow, rather than be diminished, through such experiences on the cross-carrying journey. As a child of a loving God, I am “disciplined” not so that I’m beaten down into self-pity, resentment, and other forms of self-isolation. On the contrary, I am “pruned” in God’s garden, through all my ups and downs, that I may receive more stability, wisdom, humility, gratitude and compassion for fellow cross-carriers; and that I may “tell of the works of the Lord.” All my experiences turn to gold, in light of the life-giving Cross, as I walk through them, in Christ. So let me open my heart this morning, to “life” as the Giver of Life unfolds it and deepens it for me, in His loving wisdom. “I shall not die, but live, and I shall tell of the works of the Lord!”