As humans, we have fallen short, made mistakes, said something we shouldn’t have, compromised our integrity, committed a crime, have addictions, and failed. Generally, in these circumstances, we hear ourselves saying, ‘I blew it, God will not have anything else to do with me’. People are self-righteous, and self-condemning thinking we know how God will respond to our failings. We feel God is far from us and our mistakes have created a gulf between our Savior and us. We often second guess God, however, – the Lord clearly expresses that He thinking is not like ours,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
As humans, we stumble and fall, and as Donnie McClurkin sings, ‘we fall down, and we get back up’. It did not say we get back up on our own. The truth is we are helped up by the hand of God. God does not run from us when we fall, he runs to us. If we run away, he runs after us. He has always been with us. Jesus parable stated that the sheepherder went after the one stray sheep and left the ninety-nine alone to recover the one. He did so because he wanted to save the stray, he wanted to restore it to the flock (Matthew 18:12; Luke 15:4). God works in the same way, He wants to retrieve lost, misguided people and He accomplishes this through (his earthly disciples) people. He may send someone to give you a word of knowledge, to sure you up at your lowest moment, to encourage you, to dust you off and help you recover.
God created us and knew what we would go through before we were a twinkle in our mother’s eyes before our parents were born and before the earth came to be. He knows when we will succeed and walk in our destiny, and he knows when we will fail. He knows when we are a spiritual mess. He knows when we will and will not be obedient to the Word or depend on Him. He knows we will experience hardship and wrongdoings, some brought on by ourselves and others external from our control.
God does not exempt us from hardships and tragedy. He will work with us through these times to allow us to learn to trust in Him. He allows adversity to mold and shape us. Like a child learning to walk, we must let them try to stand and walk on their own. They will stumble and fall, we will pick them up and steady them, and then let them go. We are there with our children and God is here with us.
Once we get this in our spirit. We can forge ahead, stay in prayer, and know ‘God’s Got Us’, no matter how bad we think we are or what we have done. We’re never alone in our trials and tribulations. It is through adversity that God gets our attention, delivers us from our pride, reveals our weaknesses and strengths, increases our hatred for sin, shows His faithfulness, strengthens our faith, removes pride and self-centeredness, prepares us for future service and enables us to comfort others facing adversity.
“Adversity helps us build our faith in Him. Adversity molds us into Christian Warriors. God does not see us as we see ourselves. He sees a saint sometimes struggling, sometimes falling, but justified, redeemed, forgiven, and reconciled to Him. He sees a saint full of His unconditional love, indwelt by His presence, sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He sees someone in whom adversity can never take up permanent residence”. (John Gill)
God can and does take our tragedies and turn them into a blessing. He knew Jacob was imperfect, he stole his brother’s birthright, swindled others, lied, and cheated, yet when Jacob repented, he changed his name to Israel (which means new beginnings). He takes his imperfect people; the single sheep straying away from the flock and restores us. He blesses us through our newly found obedience and dependency upon him as our Father, our Lord, and our Savior.
God does not want us wallowing in our sins, our mistakes, our poor decisions, and offenses. He knew we would commit them just as he knew Peter would commit the worse offense possible, denying Him three times and setting the crucifixion in motion.
When we fall, God doesn’t run away, He runs to us. When we make a mistake, He pursues us. God chose Peter even though he denied him three times. No matter what we have done, He calls us His children, just as many of our parents have called us, and just as we call our children. He helps us and protects us not because we are perfect and proved ourselves, He does so because of our relationship with Him. It is the relationship he gifted us through the crucifixion of his Son, Jesus Christ, who bore our sins.
When you feel unworthy, remember, He changed Jacobs name to Israel. He sought out the Woman at the well, a Samaritan, who had five husbands and was living with another man. She was the first person He told that He was the Messiah. All He wanted of her was for her to Call upon Him. He chose Thomas (the disciple that said he needed to feel the holes in Jesus’ hand before he believed he was speaking to Jesus; he was nicknamed Doubting Thomas because of disbelief) to disciple 3,000 people in India after the death of Christ. All were sinners and sought after by Christ because He wants everyone to find salvation through Him. The Bible is replete with sinners that have found their way to Christ. Our God is a God of second chances. His mercy is bigger than any mistake we have made. All he asks is that we have a heart for Him. He wants us to love Him as He loves us. He wants us to depend on Him and be obedient to His Word.
We can call on the Lord, and He will save us in times of great need and in moments of silence. The only thing God asks of us is that we must receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and repent of our sins. As a child, I always thought of repentance as acts of fire and brimstone and thought ‘to fear the Lord’ was to be afraid of an angry God, which cannot be further from the truth. It made our Lord appear as distant and retaliatory. I only wish parents would explain that He is loving and forgiving. Not as words but through His actions towards us. Repentance must never be thought of as something we must do before we can come back to God. To repent means to change directions. Repentance describes what coming to God entails, that we turn away from our sins and embrace Him. We can’t turn towards God without turning from the things He is against. In this sense, to repent implies hope. We don’t have to continue the way we’ve been going, we can turn to God.
God does not judge us the way people judge us. He doesn’t label us as defective, as the masses labeled Thomas, a.k.a. Doubting Thomas. He does not set us aside. He runs after us. He finds the sheep that lost their way. He is a God of second chances. He is faithful. His mercies are new every morning. We are justified by His grace. He is our Lord and Savior who loves us and is our salvation.
Jesus died to pay our sin debt. We cannot pay a debt that does not exist. It is not only paid off, it was finished through the resurrection of Christ.
‘It is finished.’
John 19:30 NKJV
We cannot second-guess God. God does not label us. God does not judge us as people do. God does not alienate us when we do wrong. God is not a fire and brimstone God. God does not leave us in our sin.
God wants everyone to receive salvation. God is a God of second chances. God pursues us. God stands with us during times of adversity. God saves us. God loves us. God is our Lord and Savior.
Gill, John. Exposition, Acts 2:21. http://www.biblestudytools.com
Guzik, David. Study Guide for Acts:21. http://www.blueletterbible.org
Osteen, Joel. Tape #537, God Loves Imperfect People
Stanley, Stanley. Life Principle Bible. 1 Samuel, 27-30
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