Part II: God will then let you know he is aware of your situation.
(All Bible quotes used herein are from the ESV, by means of the excellent software: e-Sword. )
I think the thing that slowed my return to God was me…my thoughts, my fears, the dread of being judged as irredeemable.
I was in the way of my own redemption. I had strayed pretty far. I didn’t know how to return to where I was. I didn’t know the way back. I could recall the day of my Salvation. But it seemed a lifetime ago, and I had done SO many things, much of it on purpose, to anger the Living God. I figured I had become irredeemable. Incurable. Incapable of being acceptable to God. Chances are you might feel that way too.
I had completely forgotten what Jesus said about any who are saved.
John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Do you remember the day you were saved? Maybe it was a long time ago, and you have not lived the “victorious life”. Maybe the burden of separation from God seems like it is too much for you.
But take it from me, one who recently returned, Jesus meant it when He said: I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. And: whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
I had forgotten this. I can remember the day of my salvation. But I had forgotten the above. When I recalled these verses, and finally realized what these verses mean, I realized that A: When Jesus said, ” and no one will snatch them out of my hand. ” He also meant that I myself cannot snatch ME out of His hand. Jesus said repeatedly throughout His ministry that we can curse and blaspheme God and Jesus, and do all manner of wickedness, and be forgiven, as long as we have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit. I knew I was saved. My doubts of being able to be forgiven was standing in the way of my redemption to God from my sins.
This Psalm describes how I was feeling:
Psalm 42:1- 2: As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
I missed God. I missed serving Christ. I knew I was lost, and thirsty for the sweet presence of God in my life. I had to get out of my way. and that is when the changes started to happen.
First, I prayed:
Psalm 5:1-2: Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.
From Psalm 51: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
This is what I discovered:
Psalm 145:8 – 9: The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
So I unloaded everything on God:
Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
And, Psalm 57:2 – I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
I have to confess. I mean I was prepared to hear Him tell me to go to hell. And I felt I deserved it. But God let me know he has been aware of what I had been up to all along, that he had never taken His eyes off me. And He didn’t do it in a way that was accusative. He did it in a way that let me know I can stop it now, and be forgiven. He knew anyway.
Psalm 44:20-21 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.
Psalm 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 145:9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
Because you were saved, and because of the Blood of Christ you can rest assured:
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You will suddenly know: Psalm 40:1- 3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
God knows you are in a plight. He always knew. He quietly intervened on your behalf, in ways you will discover after your return to Him. He led you to the point where you understood how far you strayed. No one who belongs to Him is irredeemable.
You discover: Lamentations 3:21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Understand this, when you began to feel the weight of your guilt for leaving God, it was God making you aware he knows what plight you are in. It was God drawing you back to Him. It was the Holy Spirit convicting you of your need to return. He was letting you know that He knows. That you were the only thing standing in your way.
God gives you the strength and courage to confess, to return, to repent. You have earned this right because you were and are saved by the blood of Christ Jesus. Jesus has made it possible for you to go before God and do business with Him:
Hebrews 10:19-21 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Christ prayed for you. That you will never be snatched out of His hand. He came after you because of His love for you. The fact that you began to miss God, and desired to return to Him is a sure sign that the Spirit of God was at work in your heart. HE KNEW your plight and came after you.
Matthew 18:12-13 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.
You are home now. God went out of his way to find you, and heaven itself rejoiced over your return to Him.
THIS is where things get really interesting.
Stay tuned for Part III: God has made you exactly the way you are, so that you can do exactly what He intends for you to do.
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