Something that I love about the Bible is how alive it is. Every time I open God’s Word, something jumps off the page and speaks to me in a new way. It wasn’t always like this for me, but lately I’ve just been more aware of how loud His voice can sometimes be.
For the past two years, I’ve been reading through Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah. Just about a month and a half ago I finally finished. What a journey! Last week, I began wondering what God would have me read next. For some reason, Lamentations kept sticking out to me. I didn’t know why. After all, my life has been so pleasant lately, you know? Why would a book about LAMENTING be relevant to me?
I finally decided to start reading Lamentations the other day. I’m now on the third chapter and this morning, God just kind of hit me with something that I never fully understood or believed in before.
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Surrounding these verses are accounts of how devastated the Israelites are. We are told of how women are eating their children, priests and prophets are being killed, and young and old are being slain (2:20-21). It’s not a pretty picture.
Yet these two verses explaining God’s love stand out. The phrase that I especially held onto was “we are not consumed.”
How could a people who are experiencing suffering and devastation and death say that they are not consumed?
The answer: their hope was in the Lord.
The Israelites experienced this time of pain and loss because of their sin against the Lord. The reason for this discipline was because God wanted His people to repent of what they’ve done and run back to Him. As their downfall is occurring, we see that they finally have put their hope back in their God. They are willing to be faithful once again.
And because of this renewed faith and hope in Him, it is as if they know they are truly free.
As I read this, it was as if God reached down and gently said to me, “YOU are not consumed either.”
It’s easy to think that the sin or anger or grief or bad habits in my life are all that I am. I am my sin. I am my hate. I am my perfectionism. I am my ignorance.
This is far from true! I am NOT consumed by any of those things. I am never too far gone from God that I cannot turn back. Like the verse says in Lamentations, His compassions are new every single morning. What an amazing God we have!
Something that I realized this morning is that satan does not have the upper-hand, although he likes for us to think otherwise. Even when satan is against me and I give in to temptation, I am not controlled. I have already surrendered to God’s unfailing love, and it covers me. Every day is another day to find rest and freedom in His arms.
This was news to me. Or rather, a wake-up call!
Likewise, you are not consumed when you put your hope in the Lord. His great love for you will keep you from straying. And if you do find yourself wandering away, His compassion and grace for you will never fail. Like the father of the prodigal son, He will RUN to you upon your return and celebrate.
You are more than your sin and your mistakes. You are more than your failures. They do not consume you or define who you are.
His love does.
I think many of us sometimes feel trapped, weighed down by guilt, shame, remorse, regret, or maybe all of the above. Even though we know God is forgiving and loving, and even though we know Jesus died on the cross so our slates could be wiped clean, we still find ourselves thinking that we’re undeserving, unworthy. In all reality, we really don’t deserve God’s abundant grace and mercy. But He gives it to us regardless because we are His children who He desires to have a relationship with.
The sad thing is that we sometimes feel like we’ve lost all our chances although this is far from truth.
Jesus doesn’t just forgive us our sins. He erases them. Like the cookies on your computer. You can’t undo erasing them. You can’t bring them back after all has been said and done. They’re gone for good.
Despite our depravity and sinful flesh, we are forgiven again and again when Jesus is our Lord and Savior. This doesn’t mean that he forgives but doesn’t forget. This doesn’t mean he holds things against us or keep a list of all of our wrongdoings. Because the Word says we are made clean and we are made new, that’s exactly what we are.
Satan can try to catch us in his web of lies, tricking us into thinking that we’ve messed up too many times for redemption to be possible. But at the end of the day, God is still God. He always welcomes us back with loving arms, like the father of the prodigal son.
We can’t do anything to earn or deserve His grace and love. What we can do is accept His grace and love. We can accept the truth as what it is, and stop believing these doubts filling our mind.
We are loved. We are forgiven. We are redeemed.
And now it’s time to step out of this hole into new light.
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)