|"If you see me, do you see Jesus? I hope so."|
TODAY IS NOVEMBER 16, 2023. It is not November 16, 2022, nor November 16, 2021, nor November 16, 2020. I cannot go back there. I do not have to go back there. But I will press forward toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.
I make this declaration every single day. The last 3 years of my life have been difficult. I have had to hold fast to the Word of God and seek God daily. I have had to deliberately forget. The devil likes to remind us of what we’ve been through, of all our errors in judgment and mistakes. He rubs salt in the wound and hopes the sting will cause us to react, and more than once, I did. But I had one great promise locked firmly in my heart—God forgives.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12)
He forgives and will not bring back up that thing I’ve done. Romans 8:1 tells us He never casts condemnation. Think about that, for a moment. We do this with people all the time. “Well, if you hadn’t …” and insert some sin. Or more likely, “If she hadn’t …” We don’t directly accuse people. We just talk about them behind their backs. We shouldn’t talk about them at all but pray for them. These are our instructions.
People prayed for me, and I am grateful. But 99% of overcoming what I went through came because I kept my face turned east. In the Scriptures, east is the direction of worship. God entered Ezekiel’s vision of the temple from the east. My house looks east, so as an early riser, every morning, I see the sunrise and tell God thanks. Thanks for being with me during the night. He is my safety. Thanks for the joy I have this morning. Thanks for Your forgiveness.
A verse in the Remedy translation sticks out to me. 1 Peter 2:22 says, “Christ never sinned, not even in thought.” How much I have failed in this regard, and in that light, how great God’s love for me is then. Our mistakes are not simply in action. Jesus never did anything wrong. But He never thought wrong either. He told His disciples that He only spoke His Father’s words and only did His Father’s works. He told Phillip, if you’d seen Him, then you’d seen the Father.
If you see me, do you see Jesus? I hope so. But there are times when I doubt it, and other times, when I’m glad no one saw me but the dog. Isabelle is very forgiving. How much more forgiving is our loving heavenly Father, who sent His Son to die and defeat the enemy so that we could be forever with Him? I can refuse to look back today because Jesus rose from the dead for me. Because His blood lives on the altar of heaven, I can be confident. We are told to come boldly before God’s throne of grace, that we may “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16),” and this includes when we have said the wrong things, reacted instead of responded, and hurt other people’s feelings. Including the dog’s.
The sun rises each morning, even when, on days like today (and yesterday and the day before and the day before that), it’s mostly gray. We can count on it. It is a perfect picture of God’s faithfulness. No matter what the weather is like in our lives, no matter how far we’ve strayed from the straight-and-narrow path, God’s care for us never changes. He never leaves us or forsakes us, whatever we have done, but is longsuffering, ever merciful and extremely kind. He knows the thoughts and intents of our heart, what pushed us there, and He knows how to draw us back.
Today, this day, I will rejoice in the Lord and again, I will rejoice. Today, I will declare, “This is the day the Lord hath made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Today, I will set down the pressures that surround me and lift up God’s banner instead. That as He is with me, so great in His tender care, so great is His love. Nothing fancy is required to be forgiven. There is no set of specific words. “Hey, God, I’m sorry,” will do, and if you’ll wait and listen, afterwards, He’ll reply. I love you.
- To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
- Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
- Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
- For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
- Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
- Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
- Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
- If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
- If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
- Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
- If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
- Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
- For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
- I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Photo by Michaela at Pixabay
Suzanne D. Williams, Author