2 Samuel 14:1-15:22
This is the story of King David being briefly reconciled with his son Absalom. To heal their estrangement Joab put a woman up to telling a parable to David. As she was explaining the parable she reminds David of how transient our lives truly are and she says, “All of us die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.”
This is such a comforting image of God and puts us in mind of Jesus teaching about the Shepherd who leaves the 99 to go after the 1. God is anything but an absentee father. He devises ways to bring us to bring us back. He loves us so much that He plots and plans and fixes fixes to fix us.
When I was younger I had a form of Christianity that I now refer to as “white knuckle Christianity.” It was all about me holding on to God. I had to keep the rules and say my prayers and study the Scriptures and share my faith and be an example and beware of false teachers and discern God’s will and fight the good fight and walk the walk and talk the talk. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why I was always spiritually exhausted and lacking in joy. Then one day a man I had never met before walked into the store where I was working and said to me;
He didn’t say anything more and he left the store. At first I did not understand but as I thought about it I realized he was saying to me that he used to believe it was up to him to hold on to Jesus but now he believes that it is about Jesus holding on to him. That was an epiphany for me. I received that man as a messenger from God. It began a life long pursuit in understanding God’s grace as opposed to trying to work my way into being the perfect Christian, because the latter will never happen. Even before I go astray, God is devising a way to bring me back. The great hymn puts it so well.
So to grace, how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
And let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above.