Spiritual Director · August 18, 2017

Devote #85

Undeserved love and compassion

I love it when the Word of God is so true, straightforward and convicting. Today I read a chapter of the Bible that I’m sure most people might just read and be done with, as I’m sure I have in the past. But something caught my eye this morning that jarred a memory within me.

I believe it was the Sunday morning of my 21st birthday. Yes, that was a long time ago and yes, just in case you were wondering, I had been out the night before with my friends and we consumed way too much alcohol.

Having a throbbing headache, I remember getting up early and joining my parents for worship that Sunday morning. It was a bright sunny day… clean, fresh, spring air… with every reason to celebrate, but I was tired and hungover.

In those days we attended the worship services where my uncle was the preacher. He had a way of bringing the Word of God home in a personal way.

The Holy Spirit started beating me down the moment we stepped into that building. By the time my uncle was done preaching, I was a mass of  tears. When we returned to our seats from celebrating Holy Communion, I was even worse. My mom kept asking me if everything was alright. I kept weeping and pushing her off.

God’s love and compassion, His grace and mercy, were overwhelming. I felt like a loser, a prodigal, wasting and squandering my God given and blessed life.

His forgiveness washed over me and I knew His love covered my multitude of sins.

I thought of that as I read 2 Chronicles 30:3. It reads,

“Hezekiah sent a message to everyone in Israel and Judah… inviting them to the temple in Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover in honor of the LORD God of Israel.”

Please remember that many kings have come and gone since the time the kingdoms of Israel and Judah split in two. Through those years many wars were fought, many lives were lost, and much blood was shed. And now the King of Judah invited all his relatives to come worship and celebrate their oneness in the God they believed in.

Not a one of them deserved to be invited, but still they were. Sadly the Bible tells us as the messengers were sent out to every tribe to give the invitation,

“… but everyone laughed and insulted them.” —2 Chronicles 30:10

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Remember this… God’s love, mercy and grace is constantly reaching out to you. You are not unreachable. He’s still inviting you to come join Him, dine with Him and have fellowship with Him. Why not belly up to the table and join Him today?

We know we don’t deserve what You give so freely. Your grace. It is overwhelming. Forgive us for the times we laugh and are ungrateful for this free gift. Jesus, it’s in Your name we pray, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.