devozine

Spiritual Practice

Hope of Forgiveness

Jennifer Speight and Shauna Potrawski

In my senior year of high school, I first felt the pull: the sense that I was missing out. My peers’ casual conversation about parties and hooking up made me wonder if maybe life had a different side.

teen on tracks FTR TSP 505085823 copyI did what I could to combat these feelings. I chose a Christian college and avoided situations that would lead me into sin. I resisted temptation—for a while. I wasn’t doing what other people would see as unchristian, but I had already lost the battle.

While meditating on the idea that I was missing out, that something was greater than the God who gave me the ability to ponder the idea of something greater, I wandered away from my Creator and became a person I never thought I would be. Instead of running to God, I ran away.

I wanted to come back, but I felt as if I couldn’t. I felt that I had committed an unpardonable sin and that I had no hope of forgiveness. Then bitterness set in as I watched people who had influenced my decision to walk away from God begin to recognize God’s love and to live in relationship with the Lord. I felt that I was a withered leaf, separated from God: “Because of our sins we are like leaves that wither and are blown away by the wind” (Isaiah 64:6, GNT). I believed I was lost.

But something happened. I received one chance after another, mercy on mercy. As God whispered to me songs of love and forgiveness, I recognized that I could come home. I noticed God’s love, grace, mercy, beauty.

I noticed God everywhere: in nature, in the classroom, in interactions with friends and family, in small children, in Facebook posts, in favorite scriptures.

God does not leave us. We leave God when we believe the lie that something is better than the all-encompassing love of God in Christ. Because of God’s love, because of who God is, we can rest assured that God has “swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist” (Isaiah 44:22, NRSV). We can trust that to those who have wandered, if only in their thoughts, God is saying, “Return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22, NRSV).

—Jennifer Speight

 

DIG DEEPER

God’s Unconditional Love

There you go, wandering down the path
that led you so far from me,
where the pain and sorrow
Early morning walk Ftr TS 142397968you thought you had overcome
and the sin that bound your hands and feet
have shackled you again.

Hear the truth I proclaim to you.
Know my love for you.
I gave everything to save you,
to bring your wandering heart back to me
and to restore all that was broken.
Can’t you see?
My unconditional love has set you free.

You have been wiped clean.
You have been renewed.
You are perfect in my eyes.
No one else is like you.
Child, come to me
and let my love set you free.

Do you ever feel you’ve messed up too many times to be forgiven? that God couldn’t possibly love you after what you’ve done? Psalm 103:12 (GNT) says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us.” Through Christ, God has already forgiven you for every sin you have committed and every sin you will commit. God loves you unconditionally. Come to the Lord and be set free.

—Shauna Potrawski

—from devozine (January/February 2015). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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