Advent, Day 18: How to Get Back When We Stray

I went astray…

 

far enough to pay rent to the other side.

 

What I found there surprised me: hours of intense loneliness.

 

Once you have walked with God, known the comfort of Love’s covering, the adventure of a daily tryst, everywhere else is just plain lonely. But, here’s the story: I was no longer sure He was good. My question?  How could a good God allow that?

 

I had fits trying to squeeze the Infinite into my fist-sized brain, angry He didn’t fit there.

 

I decided to explore, create Him anew, mold, scrape the clay, and fire it myself.

 

Lord have mercy.

 

I tried to find theology to match my need. Instead of allowing God to reveal Himself, I went after other lovers.

 

Whenever He talks to me about sin, He takes me back to Hosea. And honestly? I get Gomer. She was a prostitute having a hard time being faithful.  Sure, I’m not a prostitute in THAT way, but I’m pretty good at chasing after other gods.

 

“’I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.’ She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold which they used for Baal.” (Hosea 2:5b,7a,8)

 

Sin is trying to find Life outside of God. It is an unfaithfulness, a straying of the eyes, of the heart. Perhaps it is small…just an eensy bit of heart pornography. We feel better about ourselves, prop our identity up with another stake.

 

The problem? We are no longer holding our empty hands open, accepting, grateful. It is all wrapped up in the lie that something better lurks out there, something outside of our communion with Him, outside the constant stream of His good gifts. The prophet Jeremiah says Israel was like a donkey sniffing the wind, wandering.  And, of course, as Isaiah says today, perhaps we are like sheep, heads down, searching for that next clump of grass unaware of how far we stray from the shepherd.

 

“All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way. And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” (Isaiah 53:6).

 

But, my friends, here’s the good news. Spurned by our unfaithfulness, He does not move to a far corner of heaven, cover Himself in riches, send us the divorce papers. He comes and gets dirt under His fingernails.

 

He becomes one of us so He can win us.  He risks the manger to redeem our love.

 

Then He carries our sin to the cross and becomes the bridge to welcome us back home.

 

 

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In the Advent stillness:

It’s time to sit once again in expectant emptiness.

 

This is a spiritual practice taught to me by Campus Crusade folk in highschool. So simple even a busy mom can find time:

Take time to take a few deep breaths. Then consciously breathe out all that is not from God, all that wandering, all that putrid death, all that sin.  When you breathe back in, breathe in new life, asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, the character of Christ.

Breathe out: death

Breathe in: life

Breathe out: confession

Breathe in: Jesus’ life in you.

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We’re getting there friends!  We’re on our way to the manger, to peer into His face.  Don’t miss a day. Slip your email into the CONNECT box on the right of the front page. Let’s journey together.

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