Right now, I have two mugs in my room. Each has a tea bag from last week sitting in it with a small pool of water at the bottom. As I was falling asleep the other night, I noticed an odd smell coming from the mugs so I moved them away from my bed. Inside, I saw mold growing on the tea bags. It’s actually pretty dang nasty. But I didn’t take the mugs downstairs to clean them. In fact, I discovered them two days ago and they still are sitting on my dresser.
There’s no better picture of what I do in my daily life. I get so caught up in the busyness of life that I ignore the rotting tea bags that would be impossible to miss if I would only rest. And once I finally lay down to rest, I realize my work is not done, that Satan’s lies have steeped in my heart and are collecting mold now. They are ugly and gross. But the truth is, I don’t want to face these lies. I don’t want to admit there is a real problem and I sure don’t want to bring my mess before God.
I have done such a horrible job of resting in his grace; if I bring Him this mold, He will merely say to me, “You knew better.”
Chamomile is an odd tea. It has a faint, earthy flavor and seems to lull me to sleep. Such are the lies of Satan. It’s as though he creates a tea bag full of his herbal lies. But he knows his target, he can’t make a strong flavor. No, it must be a subtle undertone, almost nonexistent. If the tea is too bitter, I will spit it out. But if I can barely taste it, I will drink more and more just so I can discover more about the flavor.
I am so quick to forget that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). I constantly become discouraged when I reflect on my past or when I realize the sins I continue to commit. I think “I’ve really done it now, God’s grace can’t cover me this time. I’m too weak, I’m too messy, I’m too broken.” I was in middle school when my youth pastor pointed out the pride in this statement.
When we live as our own god, we say “I don’t need God, I am too good for Him.” This is blatant arrogance. The arrogance in the seemingly humble statement of “I’m too far gone” is the inward focus. When I say this, I say “I am too bad, I can’t need God.” In other words, I am caught in the lie that God is not big enough.
When I think about it, that’s the most ridiculous thing. I mean, this is the God who made the entire universe, who knows every star by name and because of His mighty power not one is missing, who causes the winds to blow and storms to come. If He can handle all of that, why do I doubt that He can handle my sin?
In Lexington, I can count the stars on my hand because of dang light pollution. Once I’m in the countryside, the sky is filled with bright balls of gas billions of miles away. But nothing compares to the night sky in Xocempich. When I look up, I am struck by the dazzling array of twinkling dots scattered across the dark backdrop of the night sky. Even when I try to focus on one especially bright star, there are hundreds surrounding it. It’s like a diamond-encrusted Lamborghini, radiantly glowing from every angle. You wanna know how awesome my God is? He knows the name of every single star in the universe, more than we can see or imagine.
The God of the universe, who calls the stars by name so that not one is missing (Isaiah 40:26), knows about the moldy places in my heart. But he doesn’t shy away. Psalm 139:7-12 says
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
I thought my darkness - the cigarettes, the alcohol, the boys, the bud - would hide me from God. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a frat basement but when David says “even the darkness is not dark to you,” the first thing I think of is the grimy basements where I used to spend my weekends. The room was dark but my sin was even darker. I tried to hide in the places I thought God couldn’t come near. But my attempts to shroud myself didn’t work. God didn’t give up on me. He didn’t lose sight of me. No, He left the ninety nine so that He could have the one, me. Kt. The most messed up sinner on the face of the planet.
When I reflect on these truths, I realize how foolish I am for simply trying to look away from the fast growing mold in my heart. God loves me just as much now as He did when I was running from Him. For while I was a sinner, Christ died for me. I can bring my mess, my brokenness, my moldy tea bags to the feet of my Father who will never despise a contrite heart. I can repent of the sins I committed years ago or yesterday and know I am covered by the blood of Jesus.
You think you’re too far gone? Think again because the God of the universe doesn’t see your darkness, your shame, your self-loathing, your sin. He sees His daughter and He wants you. And trust me when I say He will not stop pursuing. No matter how many times I screamed “F*** YOU” to God, He still wrapped His arms around me in love. Let Him wrap you in the same love. And never forget that there’s no amount of cleaning you need to do before you come to Him.
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