He Never Turns Away or Leaves Me

I wanted to write something for my blog before the month was gone. Yet, I did not feel pressed to write on anything in particular. I had an idea, relating to how God still loves us and delights in us, even when we are being stubborn and unyielding. Here goes…

I heard someone say recently that God turns away from us in our sin, and lowliness. The way that was put did not quite sit right with me. Of course, if I were turning my eyes away from God, I would be in no place to hear his words of grace.

Peace. From Japanese garden in San Diego

However, that is my fault. God is not the one turning away. Jesus brought that issue to clarity and completion. God’s son dealt with the consequences of sin so that those who call on him will be saved. Through Jesus, there is always an arm reaching out to saint & sinner alike, and calling out through signs, miracles, people or circumstances; or, calling out to accept (again) his free gift of salvation and redemption.

We turn ourselves away, God does not turn himself away because Jesus stands and the ambassador of God’s mercy and grace- his loving kindness.

There was a time in my life (last year particularly) where I was walking away from the good path God had desired to bless me with. I was laboring in a relationship that I should never have begun. I was being stubborn, selfish, unyielding, and lied to myself on multiple occasions. The posture of my heart was not looking towards God; instead, it was as if my eyes were closed to prevent myself from seeing my situation in the light and how disastrous was the place in which I blindly walked.

By God’s grace, there were times where I opened my eyes and ears to listen to the Holy Spirit’s warnings of the destructive nature of the path I was taking. There was one Sunday at my church where I was moved by the Holy Spirit and opened my heart, eyes and ears for a moment. I expected a “I told you so!” or “See what a mess you made?” I was astounded when I heard a whisper from heaven as gentle as a cool breeze over my aching heart that seemed to sooth every crack. It was contrary to my own shameful feelings. I heard, “I delight in you, my child.” Tears rushed to my eyes as I sat there in awe and wonder of the mysterious grace and mercy offered to me through love. I expected wrath, but instead I witnessed the unchanging love of God, which does not change with our own posture. He continually bids us come, come into my loving arms, let me heal you, let us figure this out together.

It was the gentle, loving kindness of God that led me to a place where my heart softened to the Holy Spirit and I could hear & understand that I needed to move on from that relationship. Sure discipline is essential for correction. However, God, through Jesus,  extends his mercy and grace to lead us to repentance rather than turning his face away, or using a big stick. This is the gospel, that the wrath we deserve for turning away from God has been extinguished by Christ Jesus’ sacrifice and instead we are offered mercy and grace when we accept Him. He never manipulates us with threatening to leave, or making us feel shame about ourselves. Even on those who have not yet accepted Christ as their Savior and Commander, he does not lead them to repentance with letting them know that he will turn his back to them until they come groveling to his feet. That is conversion out of fear which fear and shame do not exist in God’s character. Our inheritance as sons and daughters of Christ is eternal life at peace with God. It is that fact which brings about hope and inspires even the roughest of characters to accept Christ’s free offer of redemption for now and the afterlife.

His kindness leads us to repentance.

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 4:4-6

I found the following song in a Hymnal in the piano practice rooms at my University last semester titled, “Jesus, I am Resting.” I often would flip through the hymnal but this one I found and as I played through it and read along with the lyrics, I found my heart being soothed in such a unique way. I sensed God’s loving kindness bring a sense of peace and assurance, even though at the time I was so sick I was not doing much or felt very useful. God just wants us to rest in his goodness and loving kindness. I found this modernized version on Youtube and it keeps to the spirit of the song. Sit back, close your eyes, and listen to this heart-healing song.

-Bethany Porter

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