The other day regret came knocking on my door. Unfortunately, I answered. And he didn’t come by himself. Condemnation and guilt followed him right into my living room, while accusation slithered in on their heels.
Guilt and condemnation held up some past failures and accusation and regret jumped in, pointing fingers at how those failures had far-reaching effects. Far beyond God’s ability to fix.
I sat there feeling dismal. If only I could go back. If only I could redo my choice, my behavior, my voice tone.
Then God cleared His throat. He told me I was looking through Truth without Grace. They are never to be separated. We can’t have the Judge without the Lamb.
I got what He was saying, but had no clue how to apply grace to my past. He said, “Do what I did.” When I asked what He meant, He gave me a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross saying, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
He was asking the Father to apply grace to their lack of understanding. To their sin.
So I chose through faith to apply grace to my past, and felt peace and loving acceptance for who I’d been flow through me. Then a picture passed through my mind of a hard, grapefruit-sized mass being tossed into a lake. The sun was low in the sky and shone on the water, reflecting diamonds of light into the air.
I had no clue what this represented when God said, “That was your sin and failure being thrown into the Sea of Forgetfulness.” He continued, “It’s My Lake of Grace.”
I don’t think I had ever understood grace until that moment. We talk about His grace. We quote verses, but I had never understood it as covering my sin and failures in such a tangible way.
Now, when torment tries to knock on the door to a memory of failure (can you tell I’m a recovering perfectionist?) I simply see God’s grace covering it. And it seems to slip into that beautiful Lake of Grace.
I was listening to a powerful podcast the other day by Steve and Wendy Backlund and in it Wendy states that you can always tell when you are under a religious mindset because religion expects perfection.
How often do we think it’s God demanding perfection, when that is actually the lie of the enemy? God isn’t interested in perfection, He is interested in progress.
God didn’t berate the people or the disciples for their failures. He knows the state of man and our desperate need for a loving shepherd to guide and protect us.
Sometimes I get a revelation from God and then run with it. Trying to work it into my life through my own understanding. I operate under the assumption that I’ve got to get it working in my life (on my own) in order to please Him.
But He’s been showing me that He wants to be a part of our process. He’s not bothered by the messiness of our crash and burn attempts to reflect Him well. He wants to dig into life with us. Be a part of our messy process.
He wants Relationship. That’s what His heart cries out for with His children.
He wants us to run to Him to get things sorted out, whether it’s just living life, or practicing His principles and failing miserably, or a glitch in our character that needs to be worked out.
Father God, help me to learn to come to you with all the circumstances of my life. Show me how deeply You love me and want to be intimately involved with each detail, whether important or not according to the world’s standards. You care enough to number the hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), so you care about the little things in my life. Thank you! In Jesus’ name, amen.