Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "In The Garden"1 (Lyrics)
In the 1970s and 1980s, it was quite common for growing corporations to promote and relocate their executives. Having an ambitious nature, my husband chose to climb that corporate ladder more than thirty times. Unfortunately, the more successful he became, the more lost I became in the shuffle. I resented having myself and three children move across the country every six months to a year. Leaving our new church families over and over was really painful. Resentment and hopelessness festered, until my shame and guilt made praying next to impossible. Why, I wondered, had God deserted me so? Eventually, I hid my beloved Bible in a drawer marked Non-essentials, and we gave up searching for a home church altogether.
Soon, I found myself lost and wandering in the wilderness, living in a mirage built on the lie that choosing a better-paying position was of more value than being rooted in a church family and using our God-given spiritual gifts. The world had painted this illusion using a palette of fading shades of promised happiness, pleasure, and success, all the while luring me further away from the safety of my Father's loving arms. The fat paychecks fed our greed, not our souls. In the blistering hot desert of my poor choices, I searched in vain but found no green pastures or streams of cold running water to revive my thirsty soul. "Why me?" I cried out.
It did not take long before I realized what I had left behind. I felt so alone and longed for the support of my friends and church family. The sweet memories of home and all that I had turned my back on, managed to interrupt my thoughts. The words "Forgive me, Lord," escaped from my parched lips. Tears tumbled down, as my heart overflowed with remorse. I had betrayed my God and followed His enemy, Satan, the liar. In that intimate moment of confession and repentance, God's amazing grace and love washed away the filth of my sins, as He claimed me once again as His own.
If there was ever a time to stop wandering and invite Christ into your life, it is now. If there was ever a time for prayer, it is now! As the world reels with the news of over 170 countries who have contracted COVID-19, it is a time to share the "good news" of salvation. As communities draw together, without the distractions that Satan has tried to seduce us with, God's steadfast love is a beacon of hope. The faithful Father earnestly and patiently waits for us to return home. Yes, I had wandered away from my faith and my Father for a season, yet His love and amazing grace welcomed me back with open arms. Praise Jesus!
Luke 15:7b – There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (NIV)
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, it never ceases to amaze us that You want to have a personal relationship with each one of Your children, and that You welcome us home with open arms even after we have wandered away from Your grace. Thank You for sending Jesus, Your only Son, that by shedding His blood, dying on the cross, and being raised from the dead, He has set us free from the bondage of sin and the fear of death. Amen.