Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Exhausted Kindness

Have you ever had a single line from a song lodge itself so deeply inside you it echoed like the beating of your heart? I will tell you about the one that has taken up residence in my soul but first let's talk a little bit about prodigals and those of us who have consistently failed in our efforts to be all we believe the Lord desires for us.

It may be that wrong choices have taken us in a direction we never would have gone had we been wiser. We find ourselves so far from the Lord it seems we can never make our way back. Shame and guilt keep us from praying, and we drift farther and farther away.

It may not be something that dramatic. What of the ways we trip repeatedly over the same sins? Our prayers begin to sound like a song stuck on repeat - the same regret, the same confession, the same promise to do better - only to trip over the same failings yet again.

The common denominator is despair, and this is where the line comes in:

"Just when you thought you exhausted His kindness, His gentle compassion pulls you out of hiding..." ("Just When You Thought" - Joseph Habedank)

We somehow believe the lie that God has a limited amount of grace, and mercy. Broken by guilt and shame we run and try to hide from Him. We have looked at our failings and declared ourselves unworthy, and all the while He chases after us offering mercy and forgiveness.

The enemy of our souls delights to see us impoverished - living like beggars when all of heaven is ours for the asking. His calling card, some have said, is discouragement. If he can convince us we have gone too far, committed the unforgivable and forfeited grace, he will have won. He would like to blind us to the truth that nothing can separate us from the love of God. He wants to diminish Jesus' sacrifice in our eyes - as though our sin makes us the exception to redemption.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by feelings of unworthiness and shame, I pray you will let the glorious truth of this simple line minister to your heart. You cannot exhaust His kindness. When we come to Him in true repentance, His love and grace meet us right where we are.

"The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3