So, where do I go when I've blown it? When my head hangs low in shame and the stark contrast of God's holiness and my caked on layers of grime from wallowing in the muck and mire leave me feeling destitute? What do children of the King do when their actions have brought shame upon His Name?
This was me this morning. The Bible has much to say on this and I'm so glad. In the parable of the Prodigal son we know that the Father understands what it's like to be shamed by His wayward child. What shame to have an inheritance squandered. Yes, just like the son, though I had everything I could ever want or need at my disposal the grass looked greener... and before long I found myself far from home and covered in the filth of sin.
But just like the son of Luke 15, I've come to my senses. It's not better on this side! I traded what appealed to me in the moment but it turns sour in the stomach and I come up empty. It's not like this in my Father's house and I want to go home!
So, like him, I arose and headed home. And just like him, my Father runs to meet me. He's been watching and waiting...
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and before You..." (Luke 15:21a). "My soul clings to the dust... when I told of my ways, You answered me... my soul melts away for sorrow..." (Psalm 119:25a, 26a, 28a). "Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. BUT THIS I CALL TO MIND AND THEREFORE I HAVE HOPE..." (Lamentations 3:19-21, emphasis mine).
In logical terms, it's not dignified how the Father runs to embrace me and clothe me and restore me - but it's just like my Father! There's none like Him! His love is greater than what I can truly comprehend and I find mercy and grace to help in my time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
You see, it's not on my merit I come. I can't. I don't have a leg to stand on - but Jesus... He made a way! When His disciples asked how many times they should forgive - seven times? Surely, that was good. It surpassed the law. But Jesus answered 490 times! He wasn't suggesting they pull out a tick sheet - HE doesn't! (see Matthew 18:21-22) Though I came to Him this morning seeking forgiveness - again - more times than I count... if I confess my sins He is faithful and just and will forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
"The steadfast love of the LORD NEVER ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they ARE NEW every morning, great is Your faithfulness!" (Lamentations 3:22-23, emphasis mine).
So what now? Does that mean it's okay to just keep on sinning because there's grace? No. He wants me to rise up and "go and sin no more" (John 8:11). But I needed Him to "set my heart free" so I have the courage to even rise up and try (Psalm 119:32).
"Not by might, nor by power but by His Spirit." (Zechariah 4:6)
"Your grace is sufficient for me for Your power is made perfect in MY WEAKNESS." (2 Corinthians 12:9, emphasis mine).
Father, what can I say but thank You? Inadequate words but better ones escape me. You never leave me nor forsake me (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). You understand that I am but dust (Psalm 103:14). You don't leave me powerless to get up and walk. Instead, You manifest Your power in these jars of clay! (2 Corinthians 4:7). And so my soul can once again say, the LORD is my portion, therefore, I will hope in Him (Lamentations 3:24). And like the prodigal son, I relish my Father's embrace! Praise You, LORD!