Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31
Another autumn awaits us, just days away, officially. The season I love the most for so many reasons. And with the crisper air temps, thicker sweaters, and already a few crunchy leaves upon the ground, I sense the turn in my spirit.
The letting go of one thing, an old thing, an old way, to receive something new. Something brighter. Something better. It hasn’t come quickly or easily, that’s for sure.
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7
Our church family spent last week intentionally seeking the Lord in revival. Steven Manley led us into a time of soaking in Matthew 10 and 11. Maybe you saw the photo from my instagram of the marked up pages of notes scrolling over those pages in my Bible.
For nearly all of my walk as a Christ follower, I have fought to believe that God is not angry at my many mess ups.
I know we say all the time that God is love. Of course, I know this is true.
Yet for years of this walk, I have also believed, deep down, that He cannot possibly be OK with my mistakes. God is just and perfect and holy.
“It’s OK, God loves you anyway.”
“His grace is enough.”
Yes, He loves me still, but you can be mad as heck at someone you love, no? The Old Testament shows the justice and anger of the Lord again and again, and we pretend it’s not part of Him? Are we saying words only to make ourselves, make each other, feel better? Are we abusing His grace, throwing it out there, like it cost nothing at all?
These questions have swirled in my heart for so many years.
If I’m being honest, I think I really believed God’s disappointment with me was far greater than His love.
But it’s a lie.
His eye is on the sparrow. A dumb bird worth next to nothing. Still He sees those birds and knows them. How much more is His love for me?! How much greater?!
My messes, my brokenness, my more-times-than-i-would-like-to-admit-crappy-mothering, covered, lavishly, in the love of a God who sent Jesus for my ransom.
He weeps over my sin, I have no doubt.
But ready to whack my wrists for the messes? Waiting to strike me down? Measuring me against the other followers and disappointed at the shortcoming? Irritated, annoyed, and angry that once again I’m failing and flailing at this same struggle?
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! … How gracious he will be when you cry for help! Isaiah 30:18-19
During one of the revival services, Steven Manley gave this analogy [paraphrased in my own words]:
You wake up in the night to go the bathroom. It’s pitch black and you can’t see a thing. You stumble your way through the darkness, and run into the wall with a bang. Ugh, your head. That will leave a bruise. Curse the wall. Then you stub your toe on the dresser. Curse that thing. Hopping around in pain, you fall into the night stand. The lamp on the table falls and shatters. Your feet, now cut up, and bloody.
All these injuries. The bruise. The broken toe. The sliced up feet. Clearly…..
….the lamp is mad at me. If only the light had been on…
No! The lamp has been calling out to you, in all your stumbling and fumbling through the darkness, begging you to turn the switch on! To go to the light. To guide you away from your self, bound for injury on your own, and come walk the path lit by the Light.
The light did not cause your injuries. The light is not punishing you. The light is not mad at you.
God is not mad at you.
For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. Hebrews 8:7-13
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 1 John 3:16
I have been following Jesus for almost 13 years now.
But deep down, all this time, even though I didn’t realize it, I have been holding myself to an old covenant in many ways.
Now, the revelation of His love overwhelms me.
Friend, the answer is not in doing more, or knowing more, or obeying more, or doing things better, or measuring higher.
The answer is just more Jesus. He wants you.
The rules, the old way, the measuring, they actually keep us in bondage.
Let us throw off those old way of doing things and meet with the One who changed everything. The One who changes everything still.
A new season begins. Crisp, fresh, the old, dying off, makes way for new life to grow.
When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:4-6
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