She had taken that fatal step, free falling into the putrid waters below. It had looked so inviting, so beautiful. But upon entry, the stark reality hit and the death grip took hold. Soon she began to smell the sulfur and sense the darkness.
Her fall from grace left her naked and exposed. Shame’s scum clings tightly. Time has passed, unlike the consequences of her sin. The Gospel rings hollow. She used to know it well but now it seems like a distant echo of another time. She has been excluded, if only in her own mind. A blackball, so to speak. Loneliness and isolation tether her to hopelessness.
And still she replays the details and attempts to answer her own questions. Where was God? How did this happen? Is she not known by Him? Is there no safety in the palace of the King?
And no matter how many times she tries, she cannot pick herself back up. Because receiving forgiveness and forgiving oneself are not equal. Self flagellation is a kind of bloodletting, an attempt to alleviate the pain. Yet it is also an attempt to retain the pain. Because if she ever lets go, she fears she may truly have to accept that stain upon her soul.
I don’t know this woman. Her gut wrenching struggle was shared by another. And yet I know her well.
I know …
- · That there is no darkness as black as the gutter alongside the narrow road when the foot becomes entangled with sin.
- · That like the Israelites, she will have to move toward the waters before they will part.
- · That when her running ceases, she will see that the miles away from her Savior were only an illusion as He was there all along. And He is hosting a banquet in her honor.
- · And that upon her return, the word grace will be so fresh she will be able to almost taste it. And she will want to shout and sing and dance.
I know because she could have been me. And as she aches, I ache. I ache to draw her back to a Father who forgives and still has a plan for her life. I know the heartache of brokenness but I also know a Savior who woos fallen ragamuffins . At first we flail and resist but He persists in His lifesaving rescue and draws us again and again into His arms.
God loves us with a love that never tires of pursuit. May she catch a glimpse of this..