For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children. Psalm 103:11-17
It is a chilly September morning. The sun peaks up over the edge of earth to begin its daily journey. The violet Atlantic Ocean reflects the chameleon changes in the heavens…blackish purple, orangish purple, pink gray and finally vivid pink and vibrant blue.
One can always tell when it is going to be a stellar weather day, and this day was going to be a keeper.
The rhythmic music of the breaking waves is only muted by the whining calls of the seagulls flying above my head. They are in search of food for their grinding bellies; I am seeking answers to the self-inflicted pain I carry. After walking some distance, I find myself in a wildlife area totally set apart from beach goers. A sanctuary for the coastal animals….this morning it is my safe place as well.
My burdens push against me; mistakes, shame, bitterness, anger, confusion, longing….I desperately need mental rest for my body and my mind. This is the cost of loving Jesus, I ruminate, I know my sin will find me and chew on me as a hungry hyena does with a fallen animal. It has been barely 18 months since I asked Jesus into my life …and the process is very painful as I begin to understand the depth of my past sins and the damage my choices made to my future relationship with God…. or so I think.
I am new to this relationship, but I have learned that I will have no peace until I bring it to His feet.
Like many, the primordial nature of the ocean speaks into my very soul and I experience God’s presence keenly when I am close to it. As I lower myself to the sand, sitting criss-cross applesauce, as my kids would say, I finally release. Dropping all pretense, regrets spill out of my eyes in the form of ugly shadows, gnarled beliefs, self-serving prejudices. I give voice to my sorrow to whoever is listening – birds, crabs and God alike. A stray dog jogs by me, stops, sniffs the air and looks at me with pity. He wags his tail and then moves on down the beach, playing in the ragtag spittle of surf. I stop my weeping for a moment and watch – it gives me a small pleasure.
I am crying hard, the gasping-for-air-like-a-fish-on-the-pier-can’t-get-oxygen kind. The water comes from every opening on my face and I think I may drown in my own salty pain.
I am a mess. I am angry with me, angry with God and just plain angry…I accuse, I shake my fist, I demand answers. I rail at God with a barrage of questions that have no earthly answers; completing my indictment with the final question “WHY”? ….and finally my storm ends and I am silent.
Then in the smallness of the moment something terribly beautiful happens…
He says to me, “I have already forgiven you, but I can do nothing with you, unless you forgive yourself.”
I catch my breath. I hear this statement so loud in my conscience, and even possibly audibly that I feel shivers go all the way up my spine and into my scalp. I know this is not of me. I am not that kind or that bright. It is God speaking…and I will never be the same again.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;great is your faithfulness.
3 The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!