Rev. Susan Eaton
Catching the Breath of Your Creator - Thoughts on Ash Wednesday
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
There’s a song by Hillsong United that comes up on one of my Spotify playlists called So Will I. I’ve really come to love this song. It's rich. The lyrics say so many beautiful and deeply meaningful things, but there’s a verse in this song that has really caught my attention lately.
And as you speak
A hundred billion creatures catch your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what you said
If creation still obeys you, so will I.
The line that has really been swirling around in me since the first time I heard it is evolving in pursuit of what you said.
Think about that for a moment.
Think about what that is really saying.
Each part of creation was made to respond, grow, mature, change, become—to evolve— according to the Word that God speaks. This is not a passive event, either. Creation evolves in pursuit of what God has said.
In other words, God has said to His creation, “You will be, and you will do, and you will produce this particular thing with your life. This is your purpose. This is what I have created you for. Be and become what I have created you to be.” And each part of creation evolves accordingly. It just can’t help but do that. Creation does what it was created to do.
And then there’s me.
I listen to those lyrics and wonder…
When He speaks, am I catching His breath? Am I evolving in pursuit of what God has said—what He has said in His Word, what He has said to me through His Spirit? Or am I evolving in pursuit of what I have said—in pursuit of my selfish desires, in pursuit of an ideal that is simply based on a comparison of myself to others, or in pursuit of what is comfortable and makes sense to me? Am I evolving in pursuit of what others have said, what culture says, or what the world says I am supposed to believe and become?
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of the season of Lent. This 40-day period represents Christ’s time in the wilderness when he was tempted by Satan to conform to anything other than what God intended. Jesus resisted the devil and came out of the wilderness stronger than ever, ready to pursue everything his father said.
During this 40-day season of Lent, we are called to consider where we have conformed to the pattern of this world in our own times of “testing in the wilderness”—to consider where we have pursued a message or call that has led us away from God’s best. It is a time to be honest with our Lord and confess to him the ways we know we have been disobedient and unfaithful.
I don’t think confession is anybody’s favorite word. For many people that word brings with it a sense of shame. But God never shames his children. He corrects us. He reveals our sin. He calls us to turn away from false messages and destructive desires. And while that can bring with it a sense of deep regret, it is not the same as shame. Seeing our sin and disobedience for what it really is is the necessary first step in realigning ourselves, once again, with who God has created and called us to be.
The longer I walk with Christ, the more I realize how much more evolving I need to do. The simple tendency to begin comparing myself to others, to reach for worldly status, or to think I know best and that I can function apart from God says it all. These tendencies reveal the need I have to tune in to the truth God speaks, and then listen, respond, and evolve in conformation to what He says.
Today I am taking an honest look at myself. I am trusting my God to lovingly reveal to me what I need to confess before him. Tonight a pastor will put ashes on my forehead, I will confess my sins to my Father, and I believe that God’s grace will pour over me and strengthen me so that I can faithfully pursue everything He desires for me.
May you trust God enough to confess your sins and believe that when you do, he will breathe new life into you. May you catch the breath of your Creator today.