New Life. Typically when I hear those words my mind goes to 2 Corinthians 5:17 and the new life available to each and every one of us in Christ. My mind can never get around our great God's plan for salvation; how we can come to Him and admit that we are sinners and ask for His forgiveness, choose to commit our lives to Him, and He'll grant us forgivenss. He'll even cause His Holy Spirit to come and live within our spirit so that we never have to be alone again. So that His power is available in us. All this never ceases to boggle my mind!
Yet......do you know that even though I know and have experienced all this, I have still chosen at times in my life to turn my back on God?
Sometimes it's been in little ways like being selfish in a specific situation in a relationship. Sometimes it's been in big ways like choosing to live in some kind of ongoing sin.
But always, when I grow tired of doing things my way, when I realize once again that my disobedience is not taking me anywhere that I want to be, I return to God. I have no illusion that my return to God is about any learned wisdom on my part; I truly believe it's about His goodness and grace that seeks me out, that draws me back to Him. When I come back, He not only takes me back, but He totally forgives me
and gives me a new chance, a new beginning.
One of my favorite Bible passages is about this very thing, it's the third chapter of Lamentations. I'm especially fond of the way the 19 - 24th verses read in The Message paraphrase:
I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.
When I start to get discouraged I often return to this passage and remind myself of these truths found here. That though I may have chosen to "swollow poison", God's love hasn't run out. He is faithful even when I'm not (another favorite Bible verse of mine is 2 Timothy 2:13 ).
What about you, what new beginnings have you experienced?