By Christine Drews
One day during my college years, I went to the mall and in front of the JC Penney store was a slick sales person and a display of wine glasses. If I signed up for a credit card, I would get a set of 4 wine glasses. It didn’t take any more of a hook than that. I filled out the paperwork, and now I had a “free” ride to take trips to Florida and buy merchandise that I couldn’t afford without the plastic. A couple of years from now—30 years after that fateful decision—I will pay off the irresponsibility of my 20s.
When Sara and I started talking about me writing a series on trusting God, she suggested I write an article about trusting God when we mess up. It’s easy, she pointed out, to go to God when our health fails or we get laid off, or when we have a burden for someone else. These things have “happened to us,” and it is easy to take them to God. But when it comes to the things we have done wrong on our very own, we often resist talking to God about them.
As I read Sara’s e-mail, I thought of my financial decisions, and it occurred to me that I could not remember the last time I had prayed about them. Because it had been my fault, I had taken it into my own hands to fix, and I hadn’t done great at it.
Sometimes the things we’ve done seem suffocating and dark: You knew before you walked down the aisle that you were marrying the wrong person. You divulged a confidence, and you wish with all your might that you could pull those words back into your mouth. You’ve said critical words out loud that you never should have uttered. Couldn’t we all name a few of these regretful decisions?
When my niece Alyssa was 3, she would run fast inside the house, but as she ran, she kept looking behind her. This caused her to run smack dab into walls and doorframes. She did this a lot! Looking backward caused her pain, and she missed the joy of what was ahead of her!
I wonder if that is what we do. We keep looking back, living in regret, and because we feel guilty for making such big mistakes, we think we have to fix them on our own. We’re embarrassed. We keep hitting the same walls.
What if I had gone to Jesus with my irresponsible finances? It’s not like he’s a genie and would have paid off my financial debt with a wave of a wand. But I bet I would be in a much different spot now, and I would have had less guilt along the way. I would have given him the burden and let him carry it. Instead, I’ve carried it privately and alone.
All throughout the Bible, messed-up people kept messing up. Some, like David, were humble enough to take their laments to God. Guess what? God honored them with forgiveness and redemption. It didn’t take long before they messed up again. Because they turned to God, he kept forgiving and clearing a path for them to move forward.
What have you been carrying alone? Might we join David in this prayer:
“O Lord, do not forsake me;
be not far from me, O my God.
Come quickly to help me,
O Lord my Savior.” (Psalm 38:21-22)
And then rest in this wonderful truth:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Chris loves spending time in God’s Word and noticing God’s hand at work. She telecommutes as a senior developmental editor for a small publishing house. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, bicycling, sports spectating, and influencing the children in her life. This is the fourth post in a series about Growing in Trusting God. The first post is here.
Check out Chris’ website, Digging Deeper with God at www.diggingdeeperwithgod.com for more devotions like this one.