Even If We Wander, He Wants Us Back
Written by: Megan Garrett
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I called out to the Lord, out my distress, and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
- Jonah 2:2
Shame has followed me my entire life. It’s a shadow that accompanies me throughout the day and finds a home in the darkness of my room at night when I feel alone. For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with perfectionism. My high expectations for myself led me to make harsh judgments from a young age. Any mistake I made I would obsess over and spiral into a feeling of self-hate. Until I met Jesus when I was 19, I didn’t believe that anyone could want me as I am.
As a new Christian, I still struggled with shame and sin, but I held tight to the love of the Lord. I knew that I was a new creation in Jesus and had an endless supply of grace. Reader, I want to be vulnerable with you now. I am having a hard time holding tight to that love. This year I have been relying on myself too much and have felt distant from God, the Father. I find myself continuing to sin and give into temptation. I want to run back into His arms but I haven't been giving Him the glory and attention He deserves from me. I didn’t know if I should even write this piece, because who am I to try to give wisdom when I feel I have wandered so far?
Then, I reread the story of Jonah. And I realized that Jonah was exactly who I needed to read about right now. It’s crazy how God just knows what we need, when we need it. Jonah was a man who God spoke to. He asked Jonah to do something and Jonah didn’t want to. It wasn’t where he saw himself and he believed his own plan was better than God’s. I think we have all been able to relate to this at some point in our lives. God asks us to follow and obey Him, but we don’t always listen. In Jonah’s story, he didn’t want to follow where God told him to go and when he finally did, he wasn’t happy with what God did with the situation. And still, God was with Jonah and wanted him. He gave him forgiveness when he repented for his sins. God even still blessed Jonah.
We can all find comfort in this story. No matter how much we sin, no matter how far we wander from God He wants us back in His arms. There is nothing we can do to make God decide that He is done giving us grace. We have been invited into His family and He loves us fiercely. Guilt from my sins will still follow me. However, instead of being shameful and letting it pull me away from God, I will know it as conviction and allow it to bring me closer to Him.
1. We all have a Nineveh. What is God calling you to that you are running from?
2. God wants to forgive us. What is a sin that you have allowed to pull you away from God? Repent from this sin and ask God to help you remove it from your life.
God, I really do not deserve the grace and love that You give me. I feel like I just continue to mess up and I do not understand how You can still want me. I feel like You will be too disgusted with me to want to hold me. But feelings are not true and I will call that out as a lie. You forgive me every day. Thank You for being such a good Father.
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