I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

–John Jacob Niles

Do you know that Christmas folk song, I Wonder As I WanderDo you like it?

I never did.

But it’s growing on me.

Just Plain Ornery

Because far too often, I’m just plain ornery. 

I get grumpy and stubborn when my will is not done and impatient and harsh when my rules are crossed. I crave man’s praise and sulk when it doesn’t come. Sometimes my skin’s too thin and my heart’s too hard and the I crumble into an ugly heap.

I do.

In each case, poor and on’ry fits. There’s nothing like the Christmas rush to provoke ornery, at least in me. Which explains why I’m humming this tune a lot these days.

It fits me–I am prone to wander from the joyful obedience of faith and I feel it.

In short, I am not naturally nice.

Driving in a Hard School?

Which is precisely why I’m filled with wonder anymore. I’m more and more in awe that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Not just any sinners, either, but poor on’ry ones–maybe like you, ? like I.

I’ve shared this quote before. I stumbled on it again this week and it was a Godsend.

If you are a nice person- if Virtue comes easily to you- beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel…

But if you are a poor creature- poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels- saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion- nagged day in and day out be an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends – do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) He will fling it on the scrap-heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all- not least yourself: for you have learned your driving in a hard school.

–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book IV, Chapter 10

Is yours a wretched machine? Are you beset and tempted, within and without?

Poor and ornery, even?

Keep on. God knows.

Known and Loved by God

Keep looking to Jesus. He’s familiar. It’s why he came. Christmas happened to show us that God not only knows our frame, but loves us so much he’d redeem our frame.

He came to buy back us poor ornery one with his blood. Someplace else it says that Jesus, 

had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

To make propitiation. That’s New Testament talk for atone for our sins.

For Jesus the Savior did come for to die. 

Come for to Die

Talk about good news of great joy!

God came to earth as one of us, like his brothers in every respect. He suffered when tempted and we will too. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).

He’ll fling that old, wretched machine on the scrap heap and then we’ll forever be free from sorrow, free from sin. Restored, confirmed, strengthened and established. No more poor, ornery. The God of all grace will bring it to pass. 

So fight the good fight of faith. Resist the devil, firm in your faith. Do what you can.

Repent of your sin. And keep on. Get back up. Don’t buy the lie that no one knows your struggle or pain. Or that no one cares.

You are known by God and he cares. He knows what a ornery, wretched machine you drive.

That’s why Jesus our Savior did come for to die. 

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

–1 Timothy 1:15

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