When the gospel feels boring


It’s that time in church where you’re supposed to reflect on the gospel: Jesus saving us by suffering the punishment we deserve. It’s the silent meditation before the Lord’s supper, or when everyone listens to the song while sitting down. 

And my mind is blank.

The guilt floods in. How can I know the Son of God died for me and feel… nothing?

Helpful thoughts drift away as I focus more on my useless self.

 An Antidote to Apathy

But reflecting on the gospel doesn’t always mean squeezing my eyes shut and trying to summon the exact picture of Jesus on the cross.

God knows our hearts grow numb easily. So he’s given us countless stories in the Bible to picture our salvation and help us appreciate all its incredible parts.

I think about Isaac tied to the altar, the knife hovering above, but God intervening and providing a ram instead (Genesis 22:10-13).

That was the Father rescuing me.

I think about the lamb’s blood smeared on the doorframes of the trusting Israelites in Egypt, sparing the lives of their firstborn children (Exodus 12:12-13).

That was Jesus sacrificing himself for me. 

I think about Jonah’s rebellion sinking him to the depths of the sea. He’s completely helpless, basically drowned. Yet he cries out to God and is miraculously rescued (Jonah 2:6-9).

That was me saved by grace alone.

Unforced Praise

When I see images of God’s salvation across thousands of years, my heart is warmed with thankfulness. And whether I feel a strong emotional response or not, I can rest knowing it’s as true for me as it was for them.

So instead of feeling guilty, I can confess my hard-heartedness and ask that, through these stories, ‘the eyes of [my] heart may be enlightened in order that [I] may know the hope to which he has called [us].’ (Ephesians 1:18)