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Open Arms

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all Your works
    and meditate on all Your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77:11-12 (NIV)

Series: The Breadcrumb Trail

Some years ago, I trudged through a rebellious season. I didn’t recognize it as such at the time, and those who saw me from the outside thought I was sailing along beautifully in my walk with God. Under the surface, however, was a raging storm of self-righteousness, envy, and selfishness.

I was a rule follower who had committed my life to serve God, my family, my church, and my community. Always striving to do the right thing, I exhausted myself by constantly attempting to win the approval of others. Of course, that is impossible.

In my failed efforts, I passed through the depression of letting God and people down and fell headlong into the frustration of being depleted, unappreciated, and not enough. Instead of recognizing my error and surrendering to God in my “righteous” anger, I mustered up the little remaining strength I had to serve myself.

Why couldn’t I do what I wanted? Why did I always have to consider everyone else? Self-serving oozed from the deepest part of me, and eventually, that rebellion became impossible to hide. 

Thank God for His patient mercy, long-suffering love, and compassionate understanding of me. Romans 5:6-8 says:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I’m so grateful God knew I would need my Savior before I even existed and that Jesus was obedient to endure the cross for all. He knows the beginning from the end. He knows my weaknesses, my struggles, my unrighteousness, and my sins. Even still, Jesus died for me.

You may be familiar with the parable Jesus taught about the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32. The younger son took his inheritance, traveled, and squandered all he had. When he found himself in the lowest of low places, the scripture says he “came to himself,” and thought to return to his father. As he approached his family’s home, his father ran out to meet him, receive him with open arms, and restore him.

A great celebration followed, but the older brother was found sulking outside. Luke 15:28-32 (ESV) says:

But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

As much as I can identify with the prodigal son who wasted away all of his inheritance, the older son who was angry is much closer to what I experienced so many years ago. I had served God, did all I knew to obey His commands, and sacrificed myself for Him and others. When was it going to be my turn?

But God… He knows the intent of our hearts and the thoughts in our minds. Instead of condemning us, He invites us to draw near to Him and come up higher to see the circumstances from His vantage point. In doing so, we become convicted according to His righteousness and His purpose. 2 Timothy 2:13 (HCSB) encourages us in this truth:

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

I was faithless in that season. God was, is, and will always be faithful. He continued to pour out blessings to me and my family despite my sinfulness and faithlessness. Each blessing served as a breadcrumb—a reminder of God’s goodness to us—to me. As I sought Him in His Word and in prayer each day, He continued to meet with me, comfort me, help, teach, and lead me back to Him.

He is faithful forever. Don’t allow condemnation of mistakes in your past to keep you from reaching out to God. You are not disqualified. You have not messed up too much for Him to receive you. And nothing you do or don’t do will get you in right standing. That only comes from Jesus.

Christ died for you, knowing your weaknesses. Return to your Father. Seek Him and listen to His truth. He welcomes you, forgives your rebellion, and all He has is already yours. Look for His blessings along the way. Receive His goodness, be confident in His purpose, and thrive in His eternal blessings. Join the celebration! He’s waiting for you with open arms.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: Psalm 77:11-12; Romans 5:6-8; Luke 15:11-32; 2 Timothy 2:13; Isaiah 64:6; Hebrews 13:8 


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