Children are hilarious. Sometimes they do things that can leave you in stitches. Afterwards, however, the Lord will often reveal a deep spiritual truth through the many things these little ‘ambassadors’ say and do.
Three years ago, when my youngest daughter was only five years old, the house was extremely quiet, and this concerned me, for it was not Emily’s nap time. It has often been said that ‘silence is golden;’ however, in the case of Emily, this clearly is not true. When Emily is awake, and there is silence, this usually means that destruction has occurred somewhere in the house.
Anxiously, I began my search. I entered the kitchen. Tables and chairs were in their proper position. Nothing was turned over, and all food items remained in their proper boxes and containers. I even opened up the refrigerator to make sure that she hadn’t shut it down like she had several months before. All systems normal.
A careful search of the living room also relieved me of my fears. Nothing was out of place. The videos and DVDs were stacked neatly inside the home entertainment center. My husband’s reading glasses were still in one piece, and the remote control to the television was completely intact. All was right with the world.
And then...I looked down the hallway and saw that the door to my office was open. Every member of my family knows that my office is off limits, which is why I always keep the door closed. To enter my office without my express permission is a major misdemeanor in my household. Hurricane Emily was now in that office.
My imagination began to run wild as I perceived the possible casualties. Was it my computer? My many books? My printer? Quickly recalling to mind what some of Emily’s stuffed animals looked like after being ‘in her care’ for only a matter of seconds, my mouth went dry as I called out to her from the living room. "Emily, where are you?" I knew full well where she was, just as the Lord knew where Adam was when He called to him in the Garden of Eden. Like Him, I wasn’t seeking information. I was seeking a confession!
Suddenly, Emily came flying out of my office. "I can’t talk to you right now because I just did something wrong!" With that, she ran right past me and hid somewhere in the house. Looking mournfully down the hall, I resolutely walked toward my office and reminded myself that God never puts anything more on us than that which we can readily bear. I peered into the office and saw that the damage was only minor. Books were knocked off the shelves and strewn all over the place. Paperwork was messed up on my desk. But thanks be to God, nothing had been destroyed! I quickly straightened everything up, closed my office door, and then went in search of the little ‘sinner,’ who still refused to come out from hiding in order to face the music.
Finally, I found her hiding in the laundry room. I wasn’t angry with her. I simply wanted to explain why I have certain rules in the house. When I called to Emily, she ran out of hiding and into my arms. With tears streaming down her little face, she looked up at me pleadingly and said, "I’m sorry, Mommy! I love you so much! Do you still love me?"
My heart went out to her as I scooped her into my arms and kissed her profusely all over her face. The incident was so funny to me that I found myself laughing and kissing her at the same time. I kept thinking of her words, "I can’t talk to you right now because I just did something wrong," and I laughed more and more.
That night, however, as I spent time with the Lord in prayer, He reminded me of Emily’s words and showed me that this is how many of His own children react when they violate a principle of Scripture and break one of His rules. When they sin against Him, they run away, saying, "I can’t talk to you, Lord, because I just did something wrong," and then they go off and hide, just as Adam, our forefather, did.
In his letter to the Church, St. John instructed the people as follows: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." [1 Jn 1:9].
Our relationship with God is based on what Christ has accomplished for us on Calvary, not on the perfect performance of the worshiper. Our fellowship with Him is not contingent upon our walking a straight line day in and day out. If such were the case, who could have an ongoing relationship with Him? My daughter Emily felt that she could not be with me, even after I called out to her and desired her companionship, because she had broken a household rule. She felt the need to go into hiding until I had sufficient time to ‘cool off.’
God doesn’t need time to ‘cool off’ after we’ve sinned against Him. He’s omniscient; He saw our sin before the world began. While we may have been surprised by it, He was not. He saw it all ahead of time.
In the book of 1 Samuel, the Lord sent the prophet Samuel to King Saul to rebuke him, for he had disobeyed the command of the Lord. Because Saul was in the habit of leading Israel as he saw fit, rather than as the Lord saw fit, the Lord was left with no other choice but to remove him from his throne and replace him with one who would carry out His will. David was that replacement.
Listen to what the Lord said of David when rebuking King Saul: "Your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart and appointed him leader of His people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.’ [1 Sa 13:14].
Speaking through the prophet Samuel, the Lord declared that David was a man ‘after His own heart.’ Later on, when David was installed as Israel’s king, he stumbled and sinned greatly against the Lord. Not only did he commit adultery with a woman named Bathsheba, he also had her husband killed when he learned that Bathsheba was carrying his child.
God is omniscient. When He declared that David was a man after His own heart, did He say this not knowing the sin David would enter into years down the road? Of course not. He saw David’s sin with Bathsheba before the creation of the world! He knew exactly what David would do and when he would do it, and yet, He still chose him and declared him to be a man ‘after His own heart.’ How can this be? How could God place a man on Israel’s throne and call him a man ‘after His own heart,’ when He knew beforehand of the sin that same man would one day commit against Him?
God said these things of David, not because David was sinless and pure, but because his heart was bent toward God. David knew how to acknowledge, confess and repent of his sins. Saul, on the other hand, refused to do any of these things. When confronted with his sin, Saul always rationalized and made excuses, saying, "But I didn’t do anything wrong." David, on the other hand, wept, fasted, prayed, and acknowledged his wrongdoing before God.
David’s heart was a repentant heart, and it was because of this that his life was spared. According to the Mosaic law, both David and Bathsheba should have been stoned for committing adultery. But because David’s heart was grieved and genuinely repentant before God, listen to what the Lord said to him through His servant, Samuel: "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die." [2 Sa 12:13].
David didn’t stop being a man after God’s own heart simply because he had sinned against Him. It was his desire to please God, do His will, and genuinely repent when he sinned which caused him to steal the heart of God.
Beloved, do you know that it is impossible to disappoint God? As humans, we become disappointed with others when they do something that we were not expecting them to do. We thought they would act one way, but they acted another way. We thought they would choose one path, but they chose another. And so, we become disappointed. We become disappointed because ‘we thought’ or ‘we expected.’ God doesn’t ‘think’ or ‘expect;’ He knows. He knows everything ahead of time, including the wrong choices that you and I will make tomorrow. While He may be displeased with our choices, it is impossible for Him to be disappointed with them, because disappointment implies a lack of foreknowledge on God’s part.
When we sin, God isn’t wringing His hands up in Heaven, shaking his head, and crying out to the angels, "I thought he would take a different path; I thought she would do what I wanted." Again, in His omniscience, He already knows the path we will take or the choices we will make. Therefore, it is impossible for us to disappoint Him.
When we sin against God and genuinely repent of that sin, His call upon our lives still stands. The Lord didn’t remove Saul from the throne because of his sins; he removed him because he refused to acknowledge them and repent of them. David, too sinned against the Lord; yet, he was not removed. David repented; therefore, David remained. He was still God’s choice to shepherd the flock of Israel.
Beloved, it is no different with us! Our mistakes and poor choices don’t write off God’s plan for our lives if we come before Him in genuine, heartfelt repentance.
Corrie ten Boom once visited a weaver’s school, where the students were making beautiful patterns. She asked, "When you make a mistake, must you cut it out and start from the beginning?" A student said, "Oh, no! Our teacher is such a great artist that when we make a mistake, he uses it to improve the beauty of the pattern." This is what the Lord does with our mistakes when we genuinely repent of them. He uses them to make the pattern of our lives more beautiful in Christ.
Making wrong choices doesn’t have to mean the end of God’s call upon our lives or our love relationship with Him.
Does sin have consequences? Absolutely? But we must not allow ourselves to become confused because of those consequences by interpreting them as God’s refusal to forgive us of our sin. If I rob a bank and get caught, I’m going to jail. I may ask God to forgive me, and He will forgive me, but there are times when I cannot escape the consequences of my sin even though God’s forgiveness has come. Therefore, it is important that we don’t interpret the consequences of our sin as God’s refusal to forgive. God takes away the guilt, not the consequences.
Now that we have entered into the Christmas season, nativity scenes will soon be everywhere reminding us of the true meaning of the season. The next time you find yourself standing before a nativity, I want you to look at the infant Jesus and keep this mind-boggling truth in mind. The first time the Holy Spirit revealed this to my heart, I was almost knocked off my feet.
When Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, did their poor choice take God by surprise? No. God saw Adam’s sin before Adam was even created. God knew full well what would one day happen in the Garden of Eden, and yet He created man anyway. Now here’s the mind-boggling truth of the Christmas story. Jesus was sent to this world because He was appointed to die for Adam’s sin before Adam was ever created! This is why Christ is referred to as the Lamb of God who was slain ‘from the Creation of the world.’ [Rev 13:8].
Jesus wasn’t a Divine change of plans. He wasn’t an afterthought. He was appointed to die for man’s sin before man was even created, for in His omniscience, the Lord saw Adam’s sin before Adam was even formed. That God still created man knowing full well what would happen blows my mind. But even more mind-boggling than this is the eternal truth that Christ was appointed to die for man’s sin before man was even created! Sin has never taken God by surprise; it cannot, for He is omniscient!
When we slip and fall, we need to confess our sin, repent of it, and then move on. The Lord wants us to acknowledge what we have done. He wants us to seek His forgiveness, and He promises that if we will seek that forgiveness, He will give it.
True, sin separates us from the Lord, but it doesn’t have to keep us separated from Him. If we will make our wrongdoing right with Him, our fellowship with Him need not be blocked. If it is blocked, it’s because we have decided to put off confession and acknowledgment in order to go into temporary hiding.
Once we have confessed our sin, He forgives us of that sin and remembers it no more. I know people who can tell me where I erred nineteen years, thirty minutes, and fifteen seconds ago. They keep a record of everybody else’s wrongdoings instead of focusing on their own. But the Bible says that ‘as far as the east is from the west, so far has the Lord removed our transgressions from us.’ [Ps 103:12].
In his letter to the Corinthian church, St. Paul instructed them as follows: ‘Love keeps no record of wrongs.’ [1 Co 13:5]. If we, being weak in our natural selves, are instructed by the Holy Spirit to keep no record of each other’s wrongs, how much more is a perfect and sinless God willing to do the same for us once we have confessed and repented of that wrongdoing?
If you have sinned against your Heavenly Father, don’t put off the day of confession and repentance. His feelings for you haven’t changed. They don’t fluctuate with your daily performance. The Lord doesn’t love as man loves. Man’s love is based on performance and is rife with conditions. Man’s love is conditional, but God’s love is unconditional.
There isn’t anybody on the face of this earth who can live a sinless life before God. Solomon wrote, "Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?’" [Pr 20:9]. The answer to this is simple...no one.
The Christmas season is upon us, brothers and sisters. The next time you find yourself staring at a beautiful nativity scene, look at the infant Jesus and remember that He was sent because God saw man’s sin before man was even created. He is God’s solution to the problem of sin.
What sort of thoughts go through your mind whenever you look at a nativity scene? Glory to God in the highest? On earth peace to men? To be sure, many different thoughts come to many different people, but for me, the same thoughts come to mind whenever I see the infant Jesus. In Him, I hear the heart of God, crying out to a lost and dying world, "Come, My wayward sons and daughters, come! Christ is born in Bethlehem...
...There is no need to hide."
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