The Greatest Wonder of All

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:10-13 ESV

“God has the Power to Forgive”

To this very moment, I have certain songs stuck in my head from this summers V.B.S. I could probably sing and dance more than half of the songs the children learned. For those of you who don’t know V.B.S. stands for Vacation Bible School. It is that one week out of the summer when we give the parents a much needed break and the kids come to learn the truth of Gods word and grow as followers of Jesus. It is a time that we here at HighMill cherish and love.

Each day of VBS there are certain “Bible points” the children learn and memorize. They learn what they mean and why they are relevant and they set the course for the given lessons each day. On one particular day of VBS the Bible point was, “God has the power to forgive.”

Pretty simple huh? Very straightforward and to the point.

I can hear that statement, like I did, and let it go in one ear and out the other–unfazed and unimpressed on the inside.

That’s what happened to me on that day when I first heard it. I had my coffee. I was walking down the hall way. Heard it yelled by all the kids where I was and delightfully agreed  saying, “yes He does.” I then sipped my coffee and returned to my study. In one ear and out the other unfazed and unimpressed.

However this was not the case for one little boy here at VBS a few hours later. I overheard one of the leaders sharing with this boy about that same Bible point.

The conversation went something like this:

Little Boy: What’s the Bible point again for today?

Leader: God has the power to forgive.

Little Boy: WOW! He does?!? That is so exciting! Like He forgives everything we have ever done that was wrong!!?? (insert smiley faces, high fives, and genuine jubilation)

Leader: Yes, if we come to Him and ask him to.

Little Boy: OH MY! I am so excited that He has the power to forgive. That is awesome!!!  I am so thankful!

After eavesdropping, I went back into my study both overjoyed and convicted. Overjoyed because a child here at HighMill was able to comprehend something so beautiful and amazing: that God forgives us. Convicted because what was so exciting and amazing to this child had become mundane and common to me.

One Thing That Must Never Become Common

There is a serious danger lurking when something beautiful and uncommon becomes dull and routine.  Things like the passion or fun in our marriages or the awe and joy when beholding God’s creation. Even something as normal as the joy of hearing your children laughing. Those are three things that should never become common. But they do. It is of course common for material things to become routine and dull. I mean, I don’t get as excited as I used to about my Legend of Zelda play sword. This is understandable. But there are some things that we can never allow to become normal and mundane.

“God has the power to forgive” is certainly one of them. Do you know (if you choose to believe so) that God,  going by the name Yahweh in the Hebrew Old Testament, Apocrypha, and New Testament created and loves you? Do you know that he sees and understands everything you have been through and have done and still with everything you are and have been through–genuinely loves and forgives you? Of course on our end we must repent, come to him, and embrace this gift. But still, the fact that he even allows us to even do that is mind blowing.

To some of you this may not register just yet. That’s OK. Give it time.  I still struggle with this reality. I know me. I know where I have been and who I am as a broken person. And to think that He still loves and forgives me…wow. This has to be the greatest wonder of all. Not that he created Everest or the Pacific. Not that he created the Big Dipper or Milky Way. But that He, as perfect and holy as He is, extends His hand to a broken and sinful humanity awaiting our response to His open forgiveness and embrace.

I encourage you to simply remember that one truth. That you are loved. That there is grace for you. That he extends his hand of forgiveness to bring you into a life that is new–leaving behind the old.

3 Things Worth Contemplating

  • There is nothing you have done or have experienced that cannot be healed or forgiven by the One who Created you.
  • God was, is, and always will be the God who sympathizes. He has never been a marionette puppeteer, genie, or buddy. He is the descending God who gets you, knows you, and is with you even at your deepest point.
  • Lastly, the bridge from knowing “about” God’s forgiveness and grace to experiencing it daily is prayer, Scripture, and the believing community. Listening/talking with Him and reading/meditating on the narrative of His love for humanity, and doing so with others along the same journey.

Those three things, at the expense of simplifying,  if focused upon will make that simple “Bible point” stand out to us every time we hear it.

One More Thought…

In an obscure book of the Bible called Zepheniah, God is speaking through this prophet many things about the people of Israel. He goes to great lengths to explain His anger and frustration regarding their infidelity but then says something pretty exciting about the people He was angry with. He says,  “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zep 3:17)

Though the context may be different, I have to believe that God still dances over his children each time one of them returns back into his loving arms of forgiveness and grace.

An amazing and perfect Father forgiving a broken and repentant people…you, me, and us. That has to be the greatest wonder of all. I pray that hasn’t become common to you.

Your turn

What is the hardest part about accepting God’s forgiveness?

Be honest, does this truth ever become mundane to you?

How do you keep this fresh and real in your own life?