Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love breaks through.

The past week or two, I've felt like I was surrounded by walls. These walls kept me from experiencing the fullness of God, and they kept me focused on myself, and they kept me scared. The thing is, though, that inside those walls, I was more consumed with how I was going to get out of them than how sad I was that I was in them. I felt responsible for the fact that they were there.

Usually when I feel trapped, the feeling that follows is one of wanting to be rescued. This time, this want to be rescued was my wrestle match. It was so hard for me to reconcile myself to the idea that maybe Jesus would rescue me from a prison I built for myself. The idea, "Why would Jesus rescue me from something I got myself into?" kept coming over and over again. I feel very familiar with the nature of my God who rescues the oppressed and is fiercely protective of His children. His anger is kindled against Satan, and the enemy has some serious consequences awaiting him. What I was having a hard time with, though, was feeling guilty of sinning and feeling responsible for fixing it.

The Lord inserted strategic moments into all of this. In a short instant messaging conversation, my sister shared with me how Brother Yun (The Heavenly Man) had shared that day in the prayer room at IHOP about an experience he had while in prison. Jesus appeared to him and said, "Your prison is real, but I am the TRUTH, and the Truth will set you FREE" then all the doors of his maximum security prison opened and he walked out, like a Bible story! I heard this and thought it was awesome, but couldn't quite apply it. Amy could: "The sad times you feel are real, but Jesus is the truth and He will set you free." That was crazy. awesome. timing.

Through all this, I can kind of tell myself the answer to my question. When you think about how Jesus saved us in the first place, it wasn't at all based on anything we did to deserve it or to earn it. The forgiveness that rushed in and washed our heart that first moment we said Yes to Jesus, that same forgiveness is there for every day after.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8
Today in Bible class, Hosea also had my answer. Hosea is the crazy story of how God called one of his prophets to marry a prostitute and love her and be faithful to her to illustrate the situation Israel was in with God. Israel had walked away, decided to put other things before God, yet as God called them back to Himself, He promised His unending love and faithfulness to them.
This book blew my mind during Girls' Bible today. We just read through it, out loud, starting at the beginning, and God's method of rescue struck me. He described where things were at, and how He was making the place of sin miserable for Israel. He was making it unfulfilling and unfruitful.
"'And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals
when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers
and forgot me,' declares the Lord."

And then, the next thing He says outlines His strategy:
"'Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her..."
And He goes on to promise his betrothal with unending faithfulness and righteousness and in steadfast love and in mercy.
These verses struck me with their frankness. God couldn't have said, "I love you" very much clearer. These verses are different than Isaiah or Jeremiah, or the other places the Lord's heart of love is unveiled.
It struck me that He saw where she was and He pursued her. He made her sin miserable for her, and then He pursued her with love. That strong arm of love is the same one that surrounds me. That reassurance from the One who never changes is true in every moment of my life.
The answer is yes, Jesus will come after me. Yes, when I sin, he will bring His love and His kindness, and His kindness will move me to repentance. I can't climb the walls to get out of my prisons; Jesus has to break through them. I didn't know if He was willing. But, yes, I've found...He is.

1 comment:

Amy Rachel Peterson said...

I loved this blog... AND I vote for a new one. Hooray! Vote tallied...