'But just as one bad apple doesn't ruin the whole bushel,
there are still plenty of good apples left.
So I'll preserve those in Israel who obey me.
I won't destroy the whole nation.
I'll bring out my true children from Jacob
and the heirs of my mountains from Judah.
My chosen will inherit the land,
my servants will move in.
The lush valley of Sharon in the west
will be a pasture for flocks,
And in the east, the valley of Achor,
a place for herds to graze.
These will be for the people
who bothered to reach out to me,
who wanted me in their lives,
who actually bothered to look for me.'" Isaiah 65:8-10 (The Message)
The Lord lead me to this verse this morning, and to be honest, I'm not sure why. And I'm sure that if I was a true pastor, I would know all the significance meanings of all the verses.
But I'm not a pastor and so when I read these verses, what the Lord spoke to my soul is that He never gives up on us. NEVER. If there is ANY hope of us turning back to Him, He is there, waiting for us. Encouraging us. Pleading for us, to come home. Come back into His loving, welcoming arms. His arms ache to hold you again.
Sometimes the world teaches us that we have only one chance. We have sayings like, "One bad apple spoils the bunch." "You can never go back." "That was your one chance Baby, and you blew it."
But our Heavenly Father isn't like that. Sure, each time we fall, each time we turn away, each time we make a bad choice--it saddens Him, it tears at His father's heart--but He's never turns away. He never rejects you. You may reject Him, and He may not be able to work within you because of that choice you made, but He is still there, in the background, praying that you come back. Ready for that glorious moment when you choose to ask for forgiveness and turn back to Him.
It's like the parable of the prodigal son. You can never 'out-bad' your Father's love. What does that mean, you may ask. Well, what hits me is that, like in my family, my dad was truly a good man. He was a very hard working man. He financially provided for His family which wasn't easy when you have 12 children and he was the only bread winner. The only thing that I truly lacked as a daughter growing up was the sense of His approval. I never had it. I felt that in order to have it, I had to be perfect--my sister next to me, in my eyes, seem to never do anything wrong--and my dad seemed to like her. She didn't irritate him. So, I thought, boy, that's what I want to be--perfect. Alas, I wasn't and still am not, perfect. But to this very day, 47 years later, subconsciously, I still strive to be that 'perfect' God-daughter, daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend--for the fear of not being, is taking the chance that you will lose the love from that person.
Have you been there? Are you there? Are you at the place in your life that you feel, because of your earthly experiences, that in order to have someone love and accept you that you have to be perfect? That once you make a mistake, a bad choice, whatever the situation is, that you can't undo it? That your Heavenly Father wants nothing to do with you any longer? That He has erased your face and name from His heart?
Dear Child of His, He hasn't. Can't you accept that? His father's heart rejoices until it feels like it's going to burst when you come back to Him. When you ask for forgiveness and fall back into His warm, strong fatherly arms. All He wants is to hear you call Him by whatever name you have for Him, and tell Him you want to come home.
If you need to, do it today. Seriously. Oh, and by the way, Welcome Home.