The Bible tells us that all have sinned and gone their own way. No matter how far you’ve gone in the wrong direction, however, when you turn around God always welcomes you back. Are you living beyond your means? Have you given in to the world of internet pornography? Maybe you’re failing your wife and kids, crushing them with your anger or solitude. Is your free time filled with television or video games?
God is ready to welcome you back. His arms are open, and his promises are sure–he will transform your worst failures into a blessed future, if you’ll ask him to.
There is hope for you. God is gracious and will forgive you, no matter what you’ve done or failed to do. He will even turn your past around and create a new life’a life of hope, peace, and ongoing relationship with him. But you have to take the first step. It’s a paradox of our faith: seek God and He will find you! Whether it’s the first time you’ve sought Him or you have strayed over and over, He’s there with His arms wide open!
As you travel the long, difficult road that God’s calling you to walk, you must bear a cross. That cross represents the burdens you bear as a follower of Christ. But the way of the cross always leads to resurrection and a new life.
As God leads you to do his will you may wish there were some other way. You may feel fear, a lack of confidence, deep anguish, and a host of other emotions that threaten to stop you in your tracks. Regardless of your feelings, you mustn’t let them cause you to turn away from the path God sets before you.
Jesus understands your fears and your struggle to persevere. He had similar emotions. The night he was arrested, he cried out, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death’ (Matthew 26:38). He wondered if there was some other way and prayed three times for the suffering to be taken away, if possible. But he always ended his prayer, ‘Yet I want your will, not mine’ (Matthew 26:39). Jesus found the grace to accept God’s plan.
You may be overwhelmed as you consider the cross you’ll have to bear on the way to a new life. But during such times of struggle, you can go to Jesus for encouragement and express your deepest emotions. As you cry out for help, you can be confident that you will be given the strength you need to do God’s will rather than your own.
Emotions are a funny thing. We all know what they are, but where do they come from? They seem to flow from the core of your being, from deep down inside. And if you’ve developed the pattern of denying or hiding your feelings, you’ll lose the very sense of who you really are—who God created you to be. Don’t believe me? Consider the prophet Jeremiah.
When you read the Old Testament book of Lamentations, which Jeremiah wrote, you’ll see that you have nothing to fear about bringing even your most raw or maybe what you think are embarrassing emotions to God.
Jeremiah was intensely honest in sharing his broken heart with God. But what follows his grief? When Jeremiah finished his grieving, he turned to God to seek forgiveness. The book ends with a question of remorse: ‘Are you angry with us still?’ the prophet asks. Have you ever asked that question? Behind this question is Jeremiah’s humility, coupled with his hope that God will start the process toward reconciliation and forgiveness. Jeremiah knew God’s heart, so he knew that God would forgive. If you truly repent of your sin, you can be sure that God will forgive you too—no matter how great your sins and failures. You need to come humbly before him and place your life in his strong, gentle hands.