Our choices often have a way of catching up with us. I know that they certainly did for us. For five years we lived beyond our means; borrowing and topping-up our borrowing whenever something went wrong, or there was quite simply, just something that we wanted and wanted now. But after five years all those choices caught up with us and we had to face the consequences.
In Isaiah 30, God told the Israelites that their sin was like a crack that makes the high wall quickly crumble and shatter. Well, this was us, the cracks in the walls - our sins - brought life as we knew it crumbling down. Everything changed and with our first child in tow, we moved in under my parents to begin the task of rebuilding.
It's been a long and humbling journey living with the consequences of the choices we made. But it has also been a journey marked by God's rich mercies and grace. Because here's the thing that I've learnt - no matter how far we fall, or how far off-track we wander, God is always for us.
In spite of their sin, God had offered the Israelites His help, but they had chosen instead to look to Egypt for protection saying, "No, we will flee on horses... we will ride off on swift horses." But even after they had run off on their swift horses, God's heart was still for them. He still longed to bless His people.
And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favour, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!
And even when we've raced off pursuing our own strategies and agendas, His heart is still for us. In spite of all our failings, He waits for - actually looks for - opportunities to show us His goodness and to be gracious to us. The Father lifts Himself up to show us mercy - to spare us from what we deserve - and in the ultimate expression of His loving kindness, John 3 tells us that He allowed His own son Jesus, to be lifted up on the Cross in order to show us the depths of that love; in order to spare us the punishment that our sins - all these cracks in the wall - really deserve.
We might have to live with consequences but we no longer have to live with condemnation.
Condemnation is a damnatory sentence, an expression of disapproval, the action of condemning someone to punishment. It sounds heavy doesn't it - and if you've ever allowed yourself to come under condemnation then you'll know first-hand just how weighty it is. Condemnation coats us with shame; it taunts us with failure and it lies about our identity - breeding despair and robbing us of hope for the future.
Walking out the consequences of our sins has been much longer than the five years it took to get there and there have been moments that I have wrestled to break free from the clutches of condemnation. But I have learnt that I must bring myself back to the truth that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We have been set free from carrying this weight because of Jesus' extravagant love on the Cross. We have been set free to live by His Spirit. We have been set free to know His victory, His favour, His love, His peace, His joy and His matchless, unbroken companionship!
We are not our pasts. We are not our mistakes. We are His beloved children whom He has redeemed. And He is now in the process of restoring our lives back to the glory that He intended - of rebuilding our broken walls.
Whatever cracks have caused your walls to come crashing down, know this: despite the consequences, He does not condemn you. You are still loved and in His unfathomable grace He will help you to rebuild what has been cracked and broken.
Live today with purpose,.
This blog was adapted from The Power of Quiet devotional reading plan - you'll find it for free here.
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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