It is so easy for me to wander away from God. It starts very subtly: I miss one early morning Bible study, then another. I start filling my mind with the things of this world instead of the things of God. Thoughts of committing terrible sin begin to enter into my mind. I begin to think that I am doing well on my own, when in reality I am headed towards heartbreak and condemnation.
And yet Jesus continues to pursue me. I do not deserve His love and grace. He chooses to love the unlovable me. A door opens to spending some time with Him and He is there to wash all my guilt, shame and condemnation away. We start over in our relationship again, and it goes back to the way it was when I was washed in the waters of Holy Baptism. I am helpless, and yet because of Jesus’ love and grace for me, I am washed clean of all my sins, my guilt and shame are taken away, and I begin a new life fill with the Holy Spirit, enveloped with the love of Jesus, in an unbroken relationship with my heavenly Father who knit me together in my mother’s womb. And the key thing is not that I feel these things. My feelings are not trustworthy. The key thing is that my status before God has changed, and with that, all of reality has also changed for me.
This is my life: an ongoing cycle of wandering and restoration. And though I wish it were otherwise, though I desire to never depart from Jesus, the reality of my sinful human condition makes it so. And so I continue forward in this cycle, having full confidence in Jesus, whose love for me never changes.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, hinot because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for your choosing, pursuing, self-sacrificial love for me. By your Holy Spirit, please turn me every day back towards you and your love and grace. Help me to know and trust that your love and forgiveness infinitely overwhelms my faithlessness and sin. Amen.