It’s the end of the first week of school around here. Everyone’s tired. Everyone’s grouchy. And I had one of those afternoons with my kids where my patience was thin and I had just had enough. Enough of telling them not to fight, and to pick up toys, and to find their shoes. Enough of smart mouths and deaf ears and ambivalent disobedience. For whatever reason, that day when I heard myself half bark/half plead, “How many times have I told you…?” it was humbling.
It was humbling because it reminded me of my own shortcomings more than it reminded me of my children’s failings. I must seem like the same ornery child to God. There are times I’m just stubborn and choose to ignore Him. There are times I’m too self-absorbed in my own worldly busyness. There are times I’m whiny and repetitive, even in prayer. He sees me as a child – not only because I am His child, but because I often act like a child with my spiritual immaturity.
The difference? I eventually lose my patience and my temper, but God’s mercy and grace are everlasting. As beloved children through Jesus Christ, God’s patience with us is never exhausted. He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t let go.
And we always have the choice to repent. Repentance is like love, in some ways. It’s not simply a word; it’s an action. You can repent without ever saying the word – with a softened heart that’s genuinely trying to seek God’s will, conscious and honest about our earthly limits. Conversely, simply saying the word is useless if there is not underlying heart change. Today’s verses (Jonah 3:7-8) get us into the book of Jonah where straying from God’s will, eventual repentance, and God’s mercy are all shown – both in Jonah’s personal life and in the people of the city of Nineveh.
We will continually battle with our flesh and with our humanity on this side of Heaven. Too often, we try to pretend that we’re above such failings. The great Christian preacher and author Charles Spurgeon listed many of the ways we try to cover our sins – ceremonies, excuses, justifications, secrecy, lies, tears, time, evading responsibility. All of these attempts are, of course, in vain because we cannot hide from God.
Charles Bridges also eloquently described how our sins can be covered. “God and man each conceal sin – God in free unbounded grace, man in shame and hypocrisy.” I want my sin covered (redeemed, healed) by grace, not covered (hidden, plagued) by shame. We can close our eyes like a child and pretend our sins aren’t real. Or, we can admit them and learn from them, allowing God to refine us. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
As Christians, we are a people set apart. We won’t ever be perfect, but God won’t let go. God’s mercy and grace are everlasting, so let’s live with repentant hearts for the watching world to see.
Friends, we would love your prayers and support! Love God Greatly is going to Germany! We are putting on a one-day women’s conference in Frankfurt, Germany open to ALL women in Europe as well as a two-day training intensive for our LGG European leaders and translators THIS SATURDAY.
One of our European translators said, “The training, as well as the community, is especially important because the “job” of a translator is very isolated and can be lonely and under attack. Through the training, we can share each other’s stories, see each other face to face and not only screen to screen. The training has to fit the country, meaning: Europe is very different than the US, has different challenges and cultural backgrounds.”
Please share the information below and tell your friends in Europe about our upcoming conference! We would love to meet them on SATURDAY!
Click here to find out more about our upcoming women’s conference!