Skip to main content

He restores my soul - a reflection from Graham Howell

In thinking about verse 3 of Psalm 23, “… he restores my soul”,  I was led to think about another verse that I have meditated on over the last few years.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-17

I definitely feel the outer “wasting away”. I will be 67 in July. I am not as steady on my feet as I once was, and it’s hard for me to get up off the floor when I play with my grandchildren. They can run faster, leap higher, play longer than me. That’s a reality and it is not likely to get better. I’m in the fall of my life and I want desperately to leave a legacy as a faithful follower of Christ to my children and grandchildren and all who know me. (Psalm 71:8)

But what about this part - the “inner self is being renewed day by day”?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an inner self chart that shows a steady upward rise in spiritual fruit and joy. Perhaps a spiritual renewal app like the one that measures steps I take in a day! Each day's column is just a little higher than the day before; steady upward sanctification. Sadly, mine is not like that. It’s jagged with lots of ups and downs. Sometimes 2 steps forward and three steps back. There are times when I feel the accuser shouting at me that I am not being renewed and the inner self is wasting away just like the outer self. Shame seems always to be at my side telling me I’m not good enough, questioning my motives, and whispering that I have nothing of substance to offer. Sometimes shame is subtle, sometimes loud but always there. 

I’m trying to pay more and more attention to the second part of the verse. “Look not to the things that are seen but to those things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal”. I am a new creation in Christ. The old has passed away: behold the new has come. (2nd Cor. 5:17). There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ have been set free… (Rom. 8:1). I need to look at Jesus who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1)  I will not face eternal shame because Jesus has taken all my shame on the cross. I look forward to a day when I shed all my sins and struggles and the shame that so taunts me. It’s not now and some days are hard, really hard, but the day is coming, for sure it is coming.

Graham and Laurie have been members of Northside Church of Richmond since February 2015 and Graham has been a ruling elder at NCR since March 2017. I love NCR because it challenges me to keep growing in my faith and "still bear fruit in my old age." I can't imagine doing life without you all.


  1. So thankful for your faithful witness and honest testimony, Graham. Your walk is an inspiration to me and so many others! Glad to be in this season together...


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Racism is sin. Let's treat it that way." by Sam Vaughn

Racism is sin . People are sinners. I am a person. I am a sinner. I am stained by the sin of racism. I commit the sin of racism. I omit the righteous deeds that undo and push back the sin of racism. I have stayed silent when it benefited me, rather than speaking when it would have benefited my brothers and sisters of color. I have defaulted to judgment rather than sorrow, when an unarmed Black person is shot to death. I remember when Michael Brown was shot and killed, watching the news coverage, the first thing I focused on was what he ‘must have done to cause it.’ I sought for a flaw in Michael Brown’s character as if that should be worthy of death. I engaged with other nationally covered events in a similar way. Embracing a narrative that made me comfortable was functionally more important to me than the God-given lives of image bearers like Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. I have been indifferent, and uncaring. Over the past year I have ignored the increase in violent hate crimes agains

Where do we go from here? - by Christine Bor

Where were you God? Why would He let that happen to someone He calls beloved? But He was there, because He doesn’t leave us even in the darkest corners of this world or in the darkest hour. He mourns the sanctity and blessedness of the life and breath of His Image Bearer, Ahmaud Aubery, alongside us. But where do we go from here? Do not be surprised as if White America is not capable of the modern day lynching of a black man. And if you are surprised, keep asking questions of yourself. The death of Ahmaud Arbery should stir up grief over the loss of sacred life and deep abiding anger over the lack of justice in our country for centuries to protect our brothers and sisters of color. And if it doesn’t, I implore you to open your eyes and hearts to see color, the color that God created us with, the color that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made to be. And I plead with you to not stop there. But instead, keep going. To understand the implications of race and to know that it

The ARC of Racial Justice - a Reflection and Exhortation from Pastor Matt Lorish

Here we are again. The video footage of Ahmaud Arbery is all over social media. It is a time for lament and a time for righteous anger. I write this blog post as a continuation to the initial posts offered by Northside Church members. My aim in this post is to help my fellow white brothers and sisters think about where we go from here. At the close of Jemar Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise , he introduces a framework that he calls the A.R.C. of racial justice. Using Jemar’s framework, I’d like to humbly offer some application points that I think are important for me and my fellow white sisters and brothers at Northside Church to move towards. I also write this as a Christian pastor. Christians of all ethnicities are Bible people. The end-game for us isn’t just racial justice. The end-game for us is conformity to Jesus and honoring Him. Racial injustice is one of the areas in which we need God’s Spirit to change us, grow us and conform us (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18). My prayer is