Thursday, April 22, 2010

Forget what’s behind and where I’ve been . . .

Today, I was especially troubled with unpleasant memories. Most days, I'm completely fine, but once in a while, this particular situation creeps up and catches me off-guard with memories of the past. Sometimes, I wish I was like God more. Well, of course we all wish that, but I particularly wish that I could really forget the past. Now, I know that God is all knowing, and doesn't truly "forget" things, but that He forgives us more fully than we can imagine. When we forgive, it is near impossible for us to fully forgive because of our sinful nature. But when God forgives, He forgives so richly that He does not think of us or treat us as though what we did happened. I'm not sure if I'm making a whole lot of sense here . . . I'll try to clarify.

Because we are human, it is extremely difficult for us to truly forgive. We may no longer harbor angry feelings at someone, but rarely do we treat them as though it never happened. If someone slaps you in the face, you may forgive them, but chances are you're going to be a bit apprehensive when that person moves their hand upward around you again. When someone betrays your trust, you may forgive them, but likely you don't trust them immediately, and maybe you will never fully trust that person again. All this, is because we are human. We can forgive and love someone who has hurt us, but it is a nearly impossible task for us to "forget" what happened, that is, think of them, treat them, and feel toward them as though your trust was never broken in the first place.

God, on the other hand, has that ability. God, in His infinite goodness and love, fully forgives us when we turn our backs on Him. He does not harbor any resentment toward us because of what we have done, nor does he think any less of us for betraying him. He does not love us any less, care for us any less, or hope in us any less. When He forgives us, it is as though He does not remember what we did, because He does not act the way we do when we remember how someone hurt us.

So today, as I was wishing I could "forget" as Our Lord does, the CD in my car played this song:

Yesterday has come, and that day is gone
But I can’t say I’m proud with what went on
So I’ll start again, ‘cause I want to win
Forget what’s behind and where I’ve been

Goodbye, Loneliness, goodbye tears
Goodbye yesterday and all those wasted years

I press on, always forward, on
I have set my eyes on the horizon
I press on, God lead me on I don’t
want to stop ‘til I get to heaven

I hope the time is near, cause I keep failing here
But I will not lose if I persevere
Yeah, these blows of God, they are blows of love
They may knock me down, but I get back up

Goodbye, Loneliness, goodbye tears
Goodbye yesterday and all those wasted years

I press on, always forward, on
I have set my eyes on the horizon
I press on, God lead me on
I don’t want to stop ‘til I get to heaven

- Joel Stein (Press On)

It is my prayer today, and all days when the past is something that is hard for me to "forget", that I will become more like God. That I will forgive more perfectly, love more deeply, and "forget" more completely. I pray that I can entirely trust those who I forgive. And as I contemplate the difficulty to forgive as God does, I realize more fully the omnipotence of God's forgiveness, and the imperfectness of ours. I thank God for his infinite ability to love and forgive perfectly. For giving His Son to pay for my sins. And I "press on, always forward, on" and strive to "forget what's behind and where I've been".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"We do not lose heart . . ."

2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, "I believed, and so I spoke," we too believe, and so we speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Lord, help me to have faith in people when I lose hope. I know that, indeed, the transcendent power belongs to You and not to me. It is your ministry, and not my own. Lord, when people let me down, and it feels like everyone is failing, leaving you, and turning away, help me to know that your words are more powerful than mine, and prayer more powerful than the evil one. When I am perplexed by ignorance, apathy, and aragance, help me to not be driven to despair. Lord, give me Your love, Your understanding, Your words, Your actions, and Your prayers as I minister to your people. Help me to not lose heart, but hope in you!

- Your Stumbling Servant