Signposts: Daily Devotions

Tuesday, May 13

Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze?
—Job 6:12

Reflecting the physical problems that accumulate as we get older, a popular bumper sticker proclaims, “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” As a corollary to that, we might add, “And neither is spiritual exploration.” In his own ministry, Jesus made this clear in his conversations with Nicodemus, the rich young ruler, and others who came to him for counsel. Repeatedly he answered with observations about being “born again,” or giving one’s possessions to the poor. The upshot of these admonitions was clear: The spiritual life requires a dramatic reordering of priorities, beginning with an honest look at oneself.

Few of us engage in this process by choice. Sometimes circumstances, such as the loss of a job or some other financial setback, demand that we change our direction in life. Alternatively, we may find that our current way of living, “successful” as it might be, leaves us feeling cold and unfulfilled. Whatever the reason, we know we need a radical change.

In a culture that values self-reliance, even to admit this need demands courage. Not only do we risk losing the regard of others, but we jeopardize our self-esteem as well. What if we discover that our motives aren’t as noble as we thought? What if we uncover fears, old wounds, assumptions that make us seem petty or unjust? These are the chances that we take.

Fortunately, when we feel compelled to look into our hearts, we can be assured that we don’t do so alone. God, who is all-merciful, promises to journey with us, and to bring us safely through our fear.

O God, give me courage to face my deepest need, and to know that, even when I am afraid, you will never leave my side.

The Signposts for May are written by Susan Hanson and originally appeared on in September 2004.