“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20a ESV).
The hike had been arduous, up and down hills, through dense underbrush. It was unseasonably warm and I had a fair bit of gear strapped to my back. There still remained another hour of walking to reach my destination. As I began feeling fatigued I heard the sound of running water. I looked around and saw little more than a small rivulet running through the leaf litter. In only a moment I found its source, a small natural spring.
I unloaded my gear and knelt down, cupping my hands to create a makeshift cup. The water was clear and cold. I drank my fill and leaned back on my gear with a sigh of contentment. I filled my bottles and once again lifted my pack onto my shoulders. The distance that I had traveled seemed but a fleeting memory; and the path ahead seemed a little easier. That spring did as much for my spirit as it had done for my body.
Sin is like a heavy backpack, weighing us down and making each step more difficult than the one before it. The path we desire turns to brush and brambles right before our eyes. The burden we bear was never intended for anyone to carry.
We try this and that to ease guilty consciences…unsuccessfully. We may bargain with God; we may fight with God; or we can give up and surrender to God.
Sometimes sin is more subtle. We may carry the burden of good things, even godly things, but find ourselves relying on our own strength to accomplish the task at hand.
When my kids were little I can remember many times when we had walked just a little too far for their little legs to handle. They couldn’t go any farther. It was then that I reached down, scooping them into my arms, and carried them. They had surrendered to their father’s will, ready to be carried along in the direction of his choosing.
Sometimes we may find ourselves walking in our own direction, conforming to our own will, following our own path. And we don’t always recognize just how far we have deviated from God’s will.
We find ourselves fatigued, becoming more and more depleted with each passing day. Oftentimes this is a warning sign that we are moving along by our own strength instead of God’s strength.
Repentance is often looked at a s a negative. I contend that repentance is the most positive thing anyone can do. What keeps us from enjoying the comfort of God’s presence? Isn’t it self and sin?
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20 ESV). I was a part of a church production many years ago. I remember the words one of the songs to this day: “You get tall when you fall on your knees.” The prodigal son found this out. I have also found this to be the case in my own life. And if you haven’t already, I pray that you will discover it too.