We all have those seconds where it feels like time stands still. The moments when you stop and realize that you are in over your head, and whether or not you meant to, you have made a massive mistake. There are usually a couple that still stand out, even after time has passed… the times you made mistakes that really stuck with you. Do you remember what yours are? I used to live so ashamed, covered up in layers of regret and hurt over consequences I’d created. To be honest, I really used to think that God could only use me if I behaved perfectly. After a big mistake, even the best of us tend to run away from our Father. We think we must be terrible Christians and bad people when we blow it.
Everyone has moments when they think their sin has disqualified them from the love of God. Even the best of us has had the thought cross our mind, “There’s no way God could use you after what you just did. There’s no way you can come back from this.” Everyone alive has moments when we think we are finished, unwanted, and untouchable because of our mistakes. If there’s something you struggle with that you feel is hopeless, take a breath and invite God into this reading. If there’s something that you’ve done that you simply can’t let go, there is endless grace for you.
What does it mean to be a person of great faith when we are faced with our own messiness? How do we move forward when it feels like we are drowning in our humanity? In my past, I’ve tended to think that God is far from moments like this. Just a week or two ago, I was praying in my room about yet another mess I’d made, feeling more than a little hopeless and distant from God. That’s when, gently, he reminded me of David.
Most of us know the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). If you grew up in church, it was probably your first experience with a PG-13 part of the Bible. I am consistently shocked that after lust, adultery, and even murder, David is still “a man after God’s own heart.” Personally, I wouldn’t have many positive things to say about someone like that. And that is exactly what God began to change in me as I prayed that morning.
When David finally let himself feel the weight of his mistake, he was devastated. When he found out the consequences of his secret sins, he laid on the bare floor and wept for days, refusing food. It may have taken time, but he came to his Father and stopped trying to hide the depth of his sin. He allowed himself to grieve for what he had done. He begged for mercy, all the while believing that God heard him. Ultimately, he did not get the pardon he begged for, but his faith endured and his trust increased. When the worst happened, he got up and immediately went to worship God. His life continued on, even though he’d lost so much in his sin.
I think that’s the difference between most of us and David. It’s not that people after God’s heart just sin less. It’s not that they react perfectly or never try to hide their faults. David was a man of great faith, not in spite of Bathsheba, but partially because of his experience with her. When he failed miserably, he still had enough faith to believe that God heard him. He still knew his God, and was brave enough to ask for mercy. Most of us lose faith in our relationship with God when we make big mistakes, but David proved the depth of his walk with the Father in the midst of his greatest errors. He was courageous enough to believe that God could still love him when he failed, and he was right. He didn’t let his mistake, his hurt, or his faults change who he knew God to be. He had the boldness to believe that God could use even his humanity. The guilt and shame we feel are lies to keep us apart from a good Father. May we be filled with that boldness too, that we trust God’s grace more than our failures.
- Are there mistakes or things that you struggle with that still affect you? Are they limiting how you see yourself and your future?
- Do you believe that God is big enough to redeem your deepest flaws and failures? Do you truly believe He loves you in every moment?
- Do you tend to run toward or away from God when you fall?
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