Daily Devotional – April 16, 2020

To the Church in Exile,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s meditation is from Danielle Merseles:  

Happy Easter to each one of you. What a holy week it was! For me, the word I would use to describe holy week this year was … unimaginable.

For many years, Easter has been full of all the good things. After all, Jesus defeating death deserves all the celebrations. I delight in the flower cross, the music, the treats, the dress, the egg hunts, and the noisy dinner table. I can imagine all of that.

This year was unimaginable, much like the morning in the tomb that we celebrated. The women went to a tomb, expecting to see Jesus dead. The unimaginable reality gave birth to a life-changing story of salvation and grace.

Psalm 16, today’s passage, starts out:  “Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

The Message translation phrases that last part as this: “Without you, nothing makes sense.”  The God, who is our Protector, offers meaning in unimaginable places. Nothing does seem to make sense in our world today. 

There are a lot of chalk drawings in my neighborhood these days. On past Easter mornings, I usually would find my way to the children who would be chalking the Ave with “He is Risen” artwork outside Bethany. Now, as I’m walking on my usual route, I see so many chalk messages. This Easter I saw “Together Apart.” Nothing makes sense. I’m not sure how we can be together and apart at the same time, but it’s true right now. It’s unimaginable.

What do we do when it’s unimaginable? When it doesn’t make sense?

Psalm 16 continues: “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

God alone is what we need, what will sustain us. And that inheritance the Psalmist talks about? It’s this unimaginable reality that we are chosen by the Creator of everything to be God’s people, God’s child, known and loved. This doesn’t mean it will be perfect or pain free or just as we imagined. Remember last week? God knows suffering.

What’s helped me in this time when nothing makes sense is to tell Jesus how disoriented I am. To tell Jesus how I wanted the chalk “He is Risen” instead of the chalk “Together Apart.” To tell Jesus how unimaginable this feels. To tell Jesus how afraid or worried or bored or grouchy I am. 

I finished reading this book called Try Softer in February, before the unimaginable pandemic. Author Aundi Kolber has many gems, but here is one I keep coming back to on these days:

“I’m not asking you to find the silver lining in your “hard”. We know God is with us through it all, but that doesn’t mean life hasn’t cracked open. Maybe no one has ever said this to you, so I hope you’ll receive this now: What’s happened in your life matters. I believe God’s heart for us is outrageously gentle; and yet I believe He is calling us to more. While none of us are exempt from pain, we can learn to come out of survival mode and actually live.” 

What do we do when it’s unimaginable? When it doesn’t make sense?

Remember that God is still at work, and we are still God’s people, and God’s still inviting us to work with Jesus to redeem all things – even the unimaginable ones that just don’t make sense.

Jesus, When it doesn’t make sense, when it’s not what we imagined, when we don’t know how or why or when – may we turn to your safe refuge. May we remember that you are with us and you see those unimaginable chalk drawings too. May we come before you sad, worried, frustrated and longing for more. May we remember your promises to us. May we go out today as your children – chosen to be part of your family. May we experience your gentleness and love and hope – and may we share that with others.  Amen.

Peace in Christ, 


Danielle Merseles
Associate Pastor of Youth & Young Adults
Bethany Presbyterian Church

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