The email. That dreaded, infamous email.
...news of a terminal illness, or a cancer found. In "the inbox" these emails slide in quietly and sit, hidden like a landmine under the earth, ...just one click and bam! bad news on the screen.
But, yesterday the news felt even heavier to my soul than a disease, or even the terminal illness. I heard news of sin. From two separate corners of the globe came news of sin.
Sin in the camp.
This was not news of bad choices being made by unbelievers or the unredeemed,... no. This is sin--- heavy and dark sin---found and revealed inside the fold. Habitual sin that lingers and destroys...
Does it matter what the sin is? Scripture tells us to "put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry". He tell us to, "get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice".
The sins that destroy... anger, greed, lust, slander, impurity...
My heart sank at the news found in these emails.
Where do I go when I feel this way? When I feel angry and frustrated with Your people, Lord?
My natural-Stephanie response to sin in myself and in others is usually one of anger or frustration. But, I need Your heart, Lord.
I lifted my hands and asked... What is it that you feel, Father? What say You?
When You look on, when You draw near, how do You feel, Jesus? What is Your heart on the matter, Spirit of God? These questioning words flowed from my gut as I held my hands out and up to the Lord.
In that moment, that quiet moment in my bedroom, I felt deep, heart-wrenching sadness. A wash of profound sadness flooded my soul. Is this what You feel God Almighty?
I can't presume to know God's feelings. But, in that moment, did He share just a piece of His heart with me? Waves of grief filled my soul at the thought of His children walking in sin---so unnecessarily bound and caught in the cycle of habitual sin. It doesn't have to be this way.
Oh, Jesus!! my heart cried out as my eyes welled with tears.
Oh dear Jesus! It is not as it should be. Oh, my God, I am so sorry. I grieve with you, you the Son of Man, the Man of sorrows---well acquainted with grief.
Brothers, these things ought not be so! He has freed us from sin by His blood and has made us a Kingdom of Priests, holy to Him!
For days now I have been meditating on the anticipation and hope of advent. Waiting with expectation, I have turned my heart up and out and I have worshiped. I have tasted just a small bit of the joy and the hope that Simeon and Anna may have felt waiting for the consolation of Israel.
But, just like the first Christmas, there is still significant pain around the corner. The thoughts of many hearts will be revealed and a sword will pierce you very own soul!
This epic journey ends when Jesus comes the second time with King of Kings written on His thigh. The end comes when all sadness is wiped away! My Man of Sorrow will weep no more...
He will make all things new! He will eat with His clean, white, pure Bride. He will heal the nations and we will see His face.The story ends with the brilliant Second Advent! I can wait patiently and hope in You alone, my God.
Feeling the lingering sadness left by the coming news of sin... this is where I turn my heart and my face today!
And I say with John, "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22)
Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.