Oh my, what a mess!!! Ever seem to have one of those weeks where your gaze on Him has dropped and you feel as though you are going to drown? Where you fall flat on your face? Where your weaknesses are exposed and found to be so much larger than you would like them to be? Ever find yourself in a situation where you are enjoying a nice moment/conversation and a random thought comes along catching you off guard? You don’t really see the harm in it for a moment, but, before you know it, that random thought has taken hold. Maybe you don’t realize it at first, but it just kind of grows. This is a very accurate description of this past week for me – and it was all due to my own choices.
For just a moment in time, I took my eyes of my Lord and focused them on the desires of my heart. Like Peter, I began to sink quickly, but, rather than cry out to Him, I stayed in the water far too long trying to decide how “I felt” and what “I really wanted” – as if it was really about me. I chose to stay in the whirlpool rather than rest with Him in the green pastures beside the calm waters. I chose to explore areas forbidden to my soul, finding nothing but sorrow and emptiness – and possibly a damaged friendship.
As sanity has begun to return, so to speak, and restoration has started yet again, a verse from long ago was brought to mind. I have known this verse for a very long time, but I don’t think that the depth of truth contained in this verse had ever really sunk in before now. Let me assure you, the lesson has become a well learned one this week – and, unfortunately, it was a lesson that didn’t necessarily have to be taught in the first place had I kept my focus where it needed to be. Through His prophet Jeremiah, the LORD says,
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jer 17:9 (NIV)
The King James Version says that the heart is “desperately wicked” rather than “beyond cure.” A much more powerful description and, given recent events, I think the King James captures it a little more accurately. The verse that follows seems to drive the message home even harder.
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their
conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jer 17:10 (NIV)
If am to be “rewarded” for the contents of my heart during this past week, I am in big trouble! However, I know I can take comfort in the promise that not only does He provide grace all sufficient during our times of need, His grace is sufficient in our weakness and His mercies are new every morning.
I cannot say this week has been wasted in all senses of the phrase. Yes, countless opportunities to be a blessing to someone else were missed. Yes, many God-sightings were missed because my focus was on other things beside Him. Yes, I missed the opportunity to find out what was around the next bend in the river because I decided to explore a different stream. However, what I did find was a new sense of adoration for my Lord and a new outpouring of grace. He remains faithful even when we are faithless.
My assurance that Jesus truly is my Messiah is stronger now because of this journey. Does that justify taking the journey? God forbid!! It does, however, prove that He is still working for our good even in the midst of our stupidity and our hardheartedness. He will turn our bad choices into something good for His glory, if we will allow Him the opportunity to do so by humbling ourselves at His feet and allowing His ever-sufficient grace, His boundless mercy, and His limitless love to revive our hearts and turn our focus back to Him.
The new prayer of my heart is this:
Wash me in the waterfall of Your mercy! Pour Your love over my sin-soaked soul so that I feel Your peace and Your grace wash over every pain, every bruise, every stain I have placed upon my heart! My soul cries out like David’s and begs You to create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me! As it is written in Psalms 139:23-24, I willingly invite You to:
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)