God Knows Our Frame
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13.
I made a decision to follow Jesus in July of 1988; evangelist Ron Hutchcraft was speaking at Youth for Christ’s D.C. ‘88 convention on the topic of “Going M.A.D. for Jesus” - Make A Difference - and I realized I had never put my faith in Jesus. I’m not sure if it was the influence of growing up in “Dutch Front” Pella or my general ignorance of what sanctification and spiritual growth looked like, but for some reason I assumed since Jesus was in my life it would naturally become easier as my problems went away and I became a “better” person.
Boy was I in for a shock! My expectation for perfection, coupled with fear and shame of having my deepest sins exposed, caused several negative things to happen - I didn’t understand grace and had no idea how to extend to myself the grace and mercy God offered, I hid my sins in the shadows instead of bringing them out into the light, and I became increasingly discouraged at my inability to be “perfect,” which the enemy gladly used to undermine my newfound faith. By the age of 22 I decided to give up on Jesus - I was a failure, unable to overcome sin and doomed to my fate.
Thankfully God never let go, watching over and pursuing me over the next decade, until in January of 2004 I once again encountered Jesus and decided once again to follow him. The big difference this time? I jumped head-first into the deep end of a pool called grace and soaked it in! I was also blessed with a community group where I was able to share my struggles, openly confess my sins and receive prayer and healing.
As a dad I watch my kids at times make bad decisions and, well, be childish. No example comes more readily to mind than potty breaks - both my kids resist my wife and I’s advice and gentle reminders in this area, and both from time to time still have accidents that could have been avoided. Do we make a big deal about it? No - I mean, they’re kids, and this is all a part of growing up - having the power to make their own decisions, sometimes making poor ones, then asking mommy and daddy for help when they’ve made a mistake.
It’s a lot like God and us - despite the fact that we’re adults, spiritually we still at times act like silly and rebellious children. Yet, God still loves us, still offers grace, still has compassion for our weaknesses and still picks us up and sets us on our feet again. This isn’t an excuse for our sin - we should and must take sin seriously - just an honest realization that none of us are perfect this side of heaven.
Leroy Eims from the Navigators talks about this in his devotional today called “God Knows our Frame.” He says “God knows me inside and out; He has compassion for my weaknesses and doesn’t treat me as I deserve.” Maybe one of the best gifts we could give ourselves this Christmas is to accept and embrace the best gift God offers - the grace and mercy of his son Jesus Christ.