Dear Father, My heart is aching. As I read your Word I see the deep longing in your heart to see all people, all nations, be brought into the sheltering love of your presence and forgiveness. I think of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem and how he wept for the people. He said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Mtt 23:37) You are so desperate for all the people to know you and find peace and rest and love in your arms, but people stubbornly seek after their own gain. And no matter how rich they become, no matter how much pleasure they find, no matter how many friends they have, no matter how much fame they have achieved, they are lost. None of these things will last! Over and over again you have said it, and called people to put their hope in the only thing that will last: YOU!
God, you are merciful and kind and full of love. It is your hope and desire that all would find you and choose to stand with you, but I thank you that your love is so gracious that you would never force anyone to love you. You won’t enslave people. You won’t subjugate people. You bring life and love and peace. You bring freedom from oppression and forgiveness from our sins. You bring restoration.
You say in your Word that if we turn to you, wash off the things that have seduced us and tormented us with lust and greed and cruel intentions, and simply allow you to robe us with your love and forgiveness then we will be together, filled with love and peace, and free of the bondage of all the things in life that have brought us into bondage.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
When we come to you, God, when we throw off evil deeds and pick up the cause of your heart, and when we submit to you and accept the free gift of forgiveness that you have offered from the beginning of time: that you would pay the price for our evil deeds and save us from the consequences of our own actions, only then will we find you and walk with you and reason with you. We will have forgiveness and find unity with you. Otherwise we will only find destruction.
18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
So, thank you God that you have offered me forgiveness and freedom. Thank you that in you I am complete and can find joy even in the midst of darkness. You are light and in you there is no darkness. (1 John 1:5)
I choose light. I choose you.