I love it when you run with something that you believe God has shown you and people get it. I wish it happened more for me.
What is perhaps more common is for God to show me something, and for me to take a while to be convinced. Or perhaps I get the first instruction, then run with it in a different direction to the one God intended. Not necessarily wrong, just not intended.
I’m beginning to wonder if that is what happened with my last post. I had the first line from the song “There is so much grace” going through my mind. The first line states “East went looking for West but never found him, guilt went looking for my past, but only found love.”
Yesterday, we sang “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love…..as far as the East is from the West, that’s how far He has removed our transgressions from us.”
It was almost as if God had hired a big billboard with a huge arrow saying, “Look here, this is it, this is the message, tell them about this!!!!”
I knew that the recurring phrase was from Psalms – but had somehow missed the fact that it was found in what I have often cited as my favourite Psalm came as a bit of a surprise. It would appear that in my efforts to find the “perfect verse” to “prove” my theology on God’s willingness and ability to heal all today, I neglected to read on.
Many of us will be familiar with the start of the Psalm – “Bless the Lord, O’ my soul, and all that is within me less His Holy name. Bless my soul O my soul and forget not all His benefits who forgives all your iniquity who heals all your diseases.”
The Psalmist goes on to remind us that God has redeemed us out of a pit and crowned us with a love and mercy that does not fail. A quick search of the word used for pit here makes it clear that a pit is not somewhere one wants to be. A pit was a place where one found oneself after a transgression, either of our own doing or from the actions of another. Remaining in the pit meant certain death. There was often no way to get out of the pit yourself, it required the intervention of another, someone who might have to put themselves in harms way in order to save the one in the pit, without thought for their own safety. (remind you of anyone else??)
Verse 8 continues – “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He doesn’t deal with us as our sins deserve. I don’t know about you but I’m ever so grateful of that truth. The enemy is a cunning deceiver though. How many times have we been rendered ineffective in our mission to “make disciples of all nations” because we listen to the small voice that reminds us of the things we have done wrong. God couldn’t possibly use someone as sinful as me, not after I did …….
As far as the East is from the West, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
East went looking for West one day……..
If God can’t find our transgressions, why do we repeatedly bring them up? We come to Him in repentance and say “God, I did the thing again. I’m sorry.” He replies with “That’s ok my child, don’t do it again, and incidentally, what do you mean again?”
I was always taught to “keep short accounts with God.” On a simply practical level, this makes a lot of sense. Many Christians spend a lot of their walk trying to work up the courage to approach God for forgiveness. The sooner we do, the sooner we will be aware of His ever-present love, favour and presence again. In my experience, there is nothing like that awareness. It makes everything right. Tough times are easier, good times are enhanced, and the chaos of the world begins to feel lest chaotic. I feel like giants in front of me are like grasshoppers, and that labouring with God in a common goal is achievable.
Psalm 103 is still my favourite, especially now as I’ve found so much more encouragement within it. I’m sure there is more in there, so watch this space, but for now, there is so much grace!
(for those that missed it last time, here’s the link to the songs that inspired the post.