The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. Psalms 116:5-7 (NIV)
I picked my way down a dirt path around bare trees in Northern California. The smell of decaying forest bit up to the sinuses. As I zipped my jacket the last inch against the cold, a foul spirit drove in from above and behind.
“You are a dirty sinner. Your idle fantasies and callous heart are anathema to God.”
I pushed my hands deeper into my pockets and hunched over. There was bitter truth in those realizations. My frailty in the face of God’s holiness left my soul in defenseless silence. I staggered to a halt.
There are two sides to this coin of truth. Both must be considered. I am a dirty sinner but I’m also completely forgiven. The message of Psalms 116 is stamped on the reverse side of the coin. The simplehearted who sorrow over their treachery are always forgiven because God’s mercy is more potent than our sin.
To brood over my failure is to deny the full sufficiency of Christ’s redemption. Alternatively, absorbing myself only in God’s forgiveness ignores my sinfulness. The coin of truth must be continually turned and both sides examined—my weakness on one side and God’s substitutionary grace on the other.
With both halves of the truth in my grasp, I straightened and walked on. My sigh of relief sent a cloud against the frosty air and my soul fell into the arms of grace.
Prayer: I am at rest once more for you, Lord, have been good to me.