There is an open bridge, welcoming and open. A way for all regardless of what life you have lived, free from judgement now because the tree stands tall. The judgement has fallen on God’s only Son and through Jesus we now have access to this breath of God. God wants the best version of each one of us and He will relentlessly pursue us until we accept Him with open arms. Individual, unique and created whole as an image bearer of God.
A long weekend had just finished. Helping many children climb and complete challenges on both Saturday and Sunday was tiring but also rewarding as I could see they were getting so much out of it. I made sure I encouraged everyone, even though they may have only climbed a few feet. I forgot my gloves so my hands by the end felt raw and achy. Thankfully the weather was a beautiful sunny weekend.
As I sat tired in a cold church late on the Sunday evening, listening and struggling to connect with God’s voice, various messages from the people leading the service wafted over me. “Lent is a time of sacrifice, what have you sacrificed? – all we can give up is a chocolate bar?” – “A bit harsh” I thought. Sometimes in prayer my head nodded from tiredness and when I stood my foot was painful so I was like a crouching figure huddled alone. I took notes about which words seemed to resonate, mostly in the hymns we sang, and eventually sat and reflected at the end on the whole. Someone approached me, “Are you colouring in church?” they asked. “No, I’m reflecting on God’s Word!”.
How we can too quickly jump to conclusions based on what we see. On one occasion when I connected a harness to a child I thought to myself “this one isn’t going to get very far”, and yet I was proven wrong, the child struggled but wouldn’t give up and eventually succeeded in climbing to the top of the challenge.
We all have struggle, I struggle with the church all the time, the mindless ceremony and ritual that has no meaning for anyone unless you take a theology degree – and no many people want to do that or should have to go connect with Gods presence. The reading was Jonah, and how when a city repented it was given grace, but when reading this on my own I was struck by a couple of thoughts.
God changed His mind. The people were sinning and God was bringing judgement, but God changed His mind when they repented. God doesn’t look just on the outside, many times God’s Word tells us that God looks at the heart, perhaps at the possibilities that exist for each individual.
He knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for He himself knew what was in man.John 2:24-25
This is not just a verse pulled out of context. If Jesus knew what was in mankind’s heart when He was in His earthly ministry, then surely He has a better picture now sitting at the right hand of the Father.
We struggle for a reason, to become better, or to get to a better situation and it seems that God – Sacrificed Himself so that the major struggle He has already undertaken and conquered. We are assured of that promise and God wants us to be the best, just as he wanted Jonah to be the best he could be. I remember a phrase written many times by my music teacher;
the best is only just good enough,
God wants to work through us and when we agree to do His word He brings His Spirit.
As I clung to the wooden pew, I sang the words softly “Breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew”.
We need God’s breath everyday anew. There are people who need this breath more than me, but God is not limited.