And I felt guilty about my anger and my mistrust of Him. How could I doubt Him after all He has done for me? As I was struggling with this deadly cocktail of anger, and doubt mixed with guilt, and fear (along with every other negative emotion on the planet), God reminded me about the Apostle Peter; more specifically, Peter’s denial of Him. Jesus knew well before it even happened that Peter would deny Him (John 13:38) and He wasn’t mad at him (I would be)! It did not stop Him from loving Peter and later essentially entrusting the church to him. It may come as a surprise to you, but nothing surprises God. My anger, my doubts, or my mistrust of Him did not catch Him flat-footed. He saw it coming a long time ago and He wasn’t mad at me but chose to love me and die for me instead. Just like he saw every wrong you could ever do but chooses to love you, forgive you and be close to you anyway. Your sin hasn’t caught him unawares. There’s just nothing you can do that will make Him love you less.
And there’s nowhere you can go that is far away from Him. Colossians 1:22 says, ‘Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.’ All that time when I was lost in my anger, doubt, and guilt and felt far away from Him, I was actually exactly where I was supposed to be, standing blameless in His presence. Can you imagine that? He looked at me and saw nothing wrong. He was holding on to me even when I wanted nothing to do with Him.
So, what do you do if you are in that place of guilt and are feeling far away from God?
Well, the first thing to remember is that just because you are feeling something doesn’t make it true. Romans 8:38 says that nothing can separate us from God’s love. That there is the truth. Your feeling that God isn’t interested in you because of who you are or what you’ve done does not tally with the truth that if you are in Christ, He is never far from you. The question is, which one are you going to believe, your feelings or the truth?
The second thing is to live like you believe the truth. Oh, what a world of difference it would make if you lived every moment trusting that God is with you and has your back no matter what the situation (preaching to myself here). Of course, that is easier said than done (trust me, I know). When you’re in the valley, getting up to the mountain top can seem a daunting task, but a journey of a thousand miles does start with a single step.
That single step may be the step of just believing that the love of Christ is bigger and stronger than your biggest sin. Or the step of trusting who He says He is and that He will be true to His promises. Maybe it’s the simple step of picking up your Bible and reading a chapter even when you don’t feel like it or saying that 2-minute prayer even when you feel no one’s listening.
No matter how big or small, the important thing is to keep taking those steps. In the words of Martin Luther King, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
Every step you take is a step forward in your faith in God.
I still don’t know what the future holds, and I can’t say that I have conquered all my fear or anger, but I do know where I am right now. I am reconciled to God, holy and blameless in His presence and so are you. Exactly where we should be. Now to live like it!
If you missed out on this week's sermon, check it out here.