Supper was finished and dishes done. It was a cold, dark wintry night but seemed so safe and warm in our home. My husband and I were settling in for a quiet evening when the phone rang. It was our son. He wanted to talk to both of us so I got on the extension. After the beginning small talk he began, haltingly, to confess to us the way he had messed up his life in the preceding months since he had been away from home. Things he was ashamed of, sorry for and were against all that we had taught him and strived to protect him from. Our hearts were heavy and saddened because we had hoped and wanted so much more for him. We had prayed to that end.
“Can I come home, Mom?” he asked. My heart broke and inwardly I wept.
“Of course you can come home!” we answered. “You’re our son and we will always love you, no matter what you do. We may not approve of or condone it but we will love you.”
“Really!?!”, he replied with surprise. “I thought you would hate me.”
Often this is how I feel about my heavenly Father.
I have done so many despicable things in my life and I continue to fail and sin against God and others, even those I claim to love. I HATE it! Yet I still do it, over and over again.
As it says in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” NIV
Or as Paul also writes in Romans 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” NASB
I tell the Lord I am sorry and turn from whatever it was, but part of me starts to doubt. Can He really forget? Isn’t there a limit to His mercy? Then I begin to think God is done with me, He doesn’t love me anymore, and I have finally managed to “out-sin” His love and forgiveness.
Yet as it says so often in the bible, “But God….”
Ephesians 3:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved),” NKJV
By grace. His grace.
Even when we mess up the Lord is there saying, “It’s okay, I still love you, come on, get up, try again, I am with you.”
Psalm 103:11-12 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
So if we, as human, faulty parents, can love our sons and daughters and desire for them to return and be restored to us; how much more the One who created us!
He is the only true Faithful One.
The One who never leaves us or forsakes us. The only constant in the universe. The One who is as close as your next breath.
The God who stays.
Oh Lord, forgive me for doubting Your mercy and grace. Remind me how limitless Your love, forgiveness and strength is and that You are a good, good Father!
Be well and have a listen to the song ‘A God Who Stays’ by Matthew West!