To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit.
Jonah was an Old Testament prophet with a bad attitude. When God called upon Jonah to proclaim judgement to the people of Nineveh, Jonah refused. Not only did he disobey, he headed in the opposite direction. He attempted to run away from God, which landed him in the belly of a giant fish for three days and nights. That near-death experience brought Jonah to his senses causing him to repent and as a result God saved him.
In Luke 15:11-32, we read about the Prodigal Son. You remember the story about a wealthy father with two sons. The younger requests his inheritance early, wastes it, becomes destitute, and then determines he would be better off as one of his father’s servants than to continue in squalor. When he returns his father is elated, treats him better than expected, and celebrates his return.
These two stories depict people who brought hardship upon themselves because of foolish choices. But yet, they were restored, rescued, and forgiven.
Now, I don’t mean to suggest you should willfully disobey God or flaunt His grace, but it is important to know that the Lord rescues us from ourselves.
Can you imagine going through life without doing something foolish or outside the will of God? All of us have been struck stupid a time or two.
It’s been said of wayward young men that they have to “sow their wild oats” before getting their act together. To be fair, such foolishness can happen at any age. We are all capable of becoming our worst enemy.
In both of the aforementioned scenarios, these were men of God, one specifically and the other figuratively. They serve as reminders that God’s children are capable of choosing sinful behavior over righteous living.
Fortunately, they both came to their senses, recognized the foolishness of their ways, felt remorse, and repented.
Repentance means to turn completely around and head in the right direction. It involves a heartfelt desire to replace sinful behavior with godly conduct.
God continues to love His children, even when we engage in sin. That’s not a license to sin, but indicative of the unconditional love of the perfect Father.
Have your children ever disobeyed you? Of course, they have. But you didn’t stop loving them. You continued to want the best for them and sought to point them in the right direction.
Recently, I encountered a young man who I first met as a child in my early days of ministry. He told me I had baptized him and that I had a positive influence on his early Christian life. Then he told me how his life took a turn away from God to a place from which he thought he could never return. He became addicted to drugs, went through a painful divorce, and hit a point where he didn’t care if he lived or died. Then he repented and recommitted his life to the Lord. It didn’t happen overnight, but God has restored him. He’s remarried, has a beautiful child, and he’s living for Jesus.
Life is complicated by all kinds of perils. Evil people and threatening circumstances seek to do us harm without notice. We look to God to strengthen and rescue us from those storms. But some of the worst situations we encounter can be self-inflicted. When that happens, the Lord awaits our return. Oh, we may still face the consequences for our sin, but He forgives and helps us put our lives back together. God is so good, He even rescues us from ourselves.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Get Out of Your Rut and Get On with Your Life
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.