He knew he had walked away from God — far, far away — and he couldn’t imagine God would take him back, much less forgive him. His hands were dirty and he convinced himself he would need to figure out how to become clean before seeking forgiveness from God.
But without God he could never be purified.
With the help of a persistent group of prayer warriors and friends who refused to give up on him, the young man eventually found his way back to God. He is growing in the Lord now and helping those he hurt heal from the intense pain he caused.
Shea Lowery, executive director of Lives Being Restored, shares a similar experience about her life story and how there was a time she truly believed God would not want her. With God’s tugging and the love and care of a group of accountability partners, she found her way back to Him and now leads a ministry to help other believers in need of restoration (www.livesbeingrestored.com).
Finding renewal and restoration
Both of these restored believers are teaching me as I watch them maneuver through their faith journeys. The richness of what they are learning and experiencing in the Lord, the depth of their renewed faith, the incredible turnaround in both their lives — it is inspiring.
It also reminds me that we all play a vital role in each other’s lives as believers. We need each other as accountability and prayer partners.
None of us is immune to being attacked by the enemy nor is any one of us strong enough to avoid the various temptations of the world on our own.
It might be alcohol and/or drugs for one person while another struggles with lustful thoughts and actions. Still another may be tempted with greed and personal possessions while the next person battles busyness and ambitious goals outside the calling of God. And then there is laziness, selfishness and other seemingly benign actions that actually hinder our growth in the faith and possibly harm others along the way.
Attacks will come but there is One who is greater
Believers, just like nonbelievers, are attacked by the enemy at our weakest point. The difference is we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us. And if we allow Him to take charge, then we have the ability to fight.
It doesn’t mean any part of the journey is easy nor does it mean we won’t slip up from time to time, but it does mean we have the answer to defeat the enemy if we are truly walking with the Lord and seeking His face.
We can always come home
It is when we take our eyes off Jesus, stop meditating on the Word and spend too little time in prayer that we leave ourselves vulnerable. When we stop guarding the door to our hearts we will find ourselves walking on the wrong path. At some point we will realize we’ve gotten off track. And while “the sooner the better” definitely applies for the purposes of the people we will hurt along the way, the mercy of the Father is consistent no matter how far we’ve strayed.
He will be right there with open arms ready to take us back, cleanse our dirty hands and restore us fully to Himself, exactly how Jesus describes in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). When we finally come to our senses and see clearly, we realize God never moved. We were the ones who walked away, drowning out the sound of His voice and the drawing of His Spirit with the gleam of whatever worldly temptation caught our eye.
—Jennifer Davis Rash