“My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.” Psalm 25:15-18
Scripture is filled with the calling out of the completely unworthy ones unto the Supremely Worthy God over all. The Bible clearly asserts that all of us are sinners who are in need of the greatest of mercy and the broadest of grace from God. If there is a problem, it is that we minimize our dependence in this area – we suffer from spiritual amnesia and regularly lose our awareness of how dependent we remain upon God for all things. We fail to live in the reality of Jesus’ words when He affirmed, “Apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).” Somehow the human heart can convince itself that it is worthy of God’s best or even that we can carry on fine in the absence of His best. We have a residual pride at work in us that often leads us to feel that we have something to bargain with. Most often we do this by establishing a case before God based on what we do or do not do. We may err by comparing ourselves with others who are obviously less worthy (in our skewed opinion) of God’s graces. We keep precise records of all of our virtues and toss the wadded notes of our failures and sins into a shoebox which we keep on the top shelf of our closets (beyond reach in the furthest corner possible). Yet God is too kind to allow us this foolishness and works against us throwing down deeper roots into the unhealthy soil of our own presumed worthiness. God is so supremely committed to our acknowledgment and appreciation of His grace that He will work uniquely in each of us to show us the depths of our depravity so that we might exult in the heights of His grace. This is not about us living in guilt; it’s about us living in honesty with God and others. The shoebox full of our failures can indeed be done away with, but not before we present it to Him with the top taken off. Yes, He wants you to understand your own sin and unworthiness but only as a means by which you may also know the riches of His grace. God is lavish in His grace to eradicate guilt and condemnation from our hearts but He does not allow us to engage in that process flippantly or with some cavalier attitude. He makes us look at our own foulness before He chooses to never look at it again. Our sobering awareness must precede God’s saving act.
David writes in the Psalm 25 above of his dire need for God to do something to remedy a troubling situation. Prior to the verses I listed above he had written of his awareness of his sin. He is, in summary, saying ‘God I’m pitifully unworthy of what I’m asking for but…I’m still asking.’ David had been pressure washed. The encroaching trials, testings, challenges and pains of his current circumstances had brought him to a time of confession of sin and declaration of dependence. Though he could enumerate his sins and follies, He allowed them to be obscured by the magnitude of God’s immense grace, covenant, and love. In effect, David shows us what Paul would write centuries later: “Where sin abounds, God grace abounds more. (Romans 5:20).”
For any and all who are enduring trials and afflictions today, may we join together in welcoming the pressure washing? If we cannot change our circumstances, may we change our minds about some things? Can we acknowledge that we still have things far better than we deserve? Let’s praise God for being transcendent beyond our horizontal struggles – let’s go vertical with our attitudes. If there is sin that must be confessed, now is the greatest time to do so. He has promised never to despise your brokenness and contrition. You have been enlightened and empowered to trust His empowering, soaking grace and, yes, it does apply to your current state. Call on him this morning in an abandon unprecedented during those days of your greater ease. Don’t avoid the pressure He is ordaining, cooperate with it. Invite Him in it (He is already there) and lay low until the washing is completed. I love David’s words because they give us permission to be desperate before God. If we are honest, most of us live there 24/7… we sometimes just don’t admit it.
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