“If God Brought You To It, He’ll Bring You Through It”

Disclaimer: This post is drawn from a conversation my sister and I had this week and some of the thoughts are directly hers. Thank you for the inspiration, Bianca. Since you’ve been asking me to write, I’ll take your inspiration to do it. 🙂

“I can do all things.”

“If God let this thing come into my life, then obviously He knows I can handle it.”

True statements? Of course. These are things we lean on when we go through hard times and it’s right and good. But there’s a blessed twist and might I say even a missing link here? Let’s use some flashback here.

In my research about infertility and general health, there’s a presiding theme these days. It usually comes across in words like “yoga”, “mindfulness”, “acupuncture”, “self-care”, etc. The reason why these words bear so much weight in modern health and research is because we live in a very stressed-out world. And stress does not allow our bodies to function in the way that they should. But it becomes a rat race of stressing about not being stressed and on and on. So the world has “found” a solution. Care for your body, relax, think deeply (or not at all), mostly just “do yoga”.

I have convictions against yoga so every time it came across in a podcast, blog post, etc., I just dismissed it. I totally believe that yoga works. The concepts are age-old. You focus on something other than, and greater than, your problems, and they get smaller. If your problems are smaller, then you don’t stress about them, and your life gets better. True fact. (Drastically simplified, I know.)

But doesn’t that sound almost Christian? That’s cause it is! At least the concept. Do you see what I see? Yoga is a knock-off. God designed us as human beings to focus on Something greater. Some-One greater in fact! We were never made to handle all our problems on our own. Our bodies absolutely cannot handle the stress. Science proves it if your own life doesn’t! But God tells us that He can, and even gladly will, handle our problems. In fact, that was Plan A.

But that’s too simple for us. And so we see Christians everywhere practicing yoga.

Disclaimer #2: This post was actually not intended as an attack on yoga or an explanation against it. I’m using it because that’s what God used to open my eyes.

Back to my story though. I decided to take God at His Word. Every time something was stressing me out, I brought it to God. I told Him, “I can’t handle this. I have no idea how this will work out. It’s stressful to me. I don’t even have an idea how You’ll handle this, but I’m bringing it to You anyway. I want to see what You’ll do about it.”

Then I sat back and watched. Not really. But yet, that is sort of what happened. God kept solving my problems and I wasn’t stressed anymore. I was seeing God’s power demonstrated over and over. It was amazing and my worship was genuine. This was too good to be true! “God, why didn’t I figure this out a long time ago?”

And then I realized the hard truth. I did know this a long time ago. In fact, as a child, that’s all I ever did. I brought my problems to God (or my parents) and waited for them to solve them. “How could I have forgotten?” And then my prayer changed to “God, don’t let me ever forget this again! Life is so much better this way because this is how You planned it to be. Thank You for showing me again.”

Of course, Satan keeps bringing things into my life and telling me that God won’t be able to handle them. Or, like this morning, he convinced me that I needed to keep this problem and I honestly felt myself not wanting to give it to God. This one was mine.

But as I’ve relished this “new” concept, I’ve been sharing it. Even now as I write about it, I almost feel it’s such a trite and common thing, I shouldn’t write about it. But if I forgot, then others could have too so I’ll keep sharing. Anyway, Bianca and I were talking about giving our problems to God and she referred to a book she had been reading. The author had considered the concept of God not giving you more than you can handle and realized the missing link.

“God gives me more than I can handle so that I’ll give it back to Him and be able to witness His power.”

That sums up the post so well, why would I continue to write? But I will end with a challenge for each of you: Give your problems to God. Don’t become careless or think that now you don’t have to do anything anymore (prayer and submission are hard work actually), but do your part so that God can do His and you will see His mighty power!!

“If God brought you to it, He’ll bring you through it.”

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O Lord Jesus, Come Quickly!

These words were my heart cry last night. I told Jon those were words I never thought I’d say till I was old. Young people are supposed to be excited about life. We’re supposed to have a vision for the future. I never understood how young people could be excited about heaven when life on earth was so good.

Now I do though.

I know what it’s like to want to go to heaven. I know what it’s like to not want to face another day on earth. I know what it’s like to not have a vision for the future. I know what it’s like to not be excited about life. (Don’t worry, I’m cringing too as I write this. But it’s true.)

Some days, I marvel at how God created us humans to be so resilient. We bounce back after every hardship and grief that hits us. Somehow. We might not bounce back to what we were but we do get up and we face another day and somehow we keep going. Obviously, as a Christian, I must give God the credit because of His marvellous grace. But as I look back over the past two years, but especially the last two months, I see things in my life that I prayed I would never have to face cause I didn’t know how I’d handle them, and here I am, on the other side and yet somehow in the middle of it, but surviving.

I told Jon yesterday that in the past two years, I’ve been to more funerals than in the previous 19 years of my life. I’m honestly a bit overwhelmed. Of course, some funerals didn’t affect me as much but any funeral takes an emotional toll on you. A young grandpa that died of a brain tumour, my own Uncle Peter (the saddest one of all), a young man that died of a brain tumour, my dear little cousin Tirzah, another young grandpa whose battle with leukaemia was finally over, and yesterday, a dear little boy who won’t have to have seizures anymore. (Compare that to 4 funerals in my entire life before, and only Caleb’s that really affected me!)

That little boy’s funeral seemed to be the beginning of grief for us yesterday. It being my cousin Caleb’s 18th birthday made it even more emotional. “What would it be like to still have you here Caleb? We miss you so much! You would be such a handsome young man. We would so enjoy your company here!”

And then we got the news that a young father was about to end his battle with cancer. No! Not him! He was fighting it so well! That he was in the hospital taking his last breaths was news no one was prepared to hear. Especially not his young wife and children. “Oh God! Can we just all go home to you? Why so much suffering? Why so much grief? We are happy for those who don’t have to suffer anymore, but our hearts break over and over for those left behind. Please God, just take us all home to be with you!”

I know it’s an age-old request and the struggle to understand suffering is about as old as the earth itself. But each one of us faces it sometime or another. We wonder how God, in His goodness, can allow such sadness to prevail. And even though we know that God is just and the ultimate goodness, in times like this, our faith starts to waver.

Now I’ve just talked about funerals and you’re probably wondering how just funerals can affect me so much. Well, it’s not just funerals. Jon and I entered our second year of marriage in a constant funeral. “How so?” you ask. Let me explain. When you’ve been told by a fertility specialist that you will never have children, your life becomes a constant funeral. Not only are you grieving the loss of the children you’ll never have, you are also grieving the death of dreams. Dreams of pregnancy. Dreams of childbirth. Dreams of having a child with your own genes and quirks. Dreams of having someone who looks just like you or, more importantly, your spouse. As Jon and I have tried to deal with this prognosis, life has not been easy. And that is the reason there have been no updates on this blog. I told Jon yesterday that the most frustrating thing about my life right now was that I couldn’t write about it. Usually, when I’ve faced something tough, I’ve been able to pour it out on paper and then move on. This time was different. I just couldn’t write. Today I’ve been able to write a bit and that’s a big blessing. So thank you for “listening”.

P.S. In spite of my negativity in this post, I do want you to know that we believe in a miracle-working God. We are also not completely believing the diagnosis (please forgive our denial but it’s only based on one test.) Anyway, we are making some positive lifestyle changes and still praying for a miracle. So please join us in prayer. We are so undeserving of all the prayers we have received so far but we believe that it is powerful and that prayer is what will make us parents some day.

P.P.S. Please don’t ask why we don’t just adopt. For those of you familiar with infertility, you know that is a hard question to hear and to answer. We are definitely open to adoption and would love to do it someday but we don’t feel as if the doors are open to us for that right now. We are praying for God’s guidance in that area as well.

 

A Prayer of Balance

Lord, I pray for conviction, not self-condemnation.

I pray to press on to perfection, not to dwell on imperfection.

I pray for be patient with myself, not to push myself to be more than You planned.

I pray for a vision, not overwhelmed-ness.

I pray for motivation, not contentment with less.

I pray for hope, not fantasy.

I pray for love, not gushy feelings.

I pray for silence when needed, not openness when not needed.

I pray for consistence, not strained effort and then nothing.

I pray for contentment, not lust.

I pray for confidence, not pride.

I pray for enjoyment, not over-indulgence.

I pray for discipline, not laziness.

I pray for grace for others, not judgement at a wrong time.

I pray for patience with others, not demanding more from them than I would of myself.

I pray for strength to be a balanced person, the way You designed me to be.

“Father, not my will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Amen

This prayer comes raw and unedited. I pray that it can be a blessing, even in its imperfection.

 

God Cries for Me?

It had been an intense day. Maybe that’s even an understatement. Jon had had his volleyball tournament and emotions ran high as they fought for the top. After receiving bronze, we left to go to his parents. His mom made a delicious supper for us and we had a delightful evening with them. As we were about to leave early, Jon’s mom expressed hope of him not falling asleep while driving because he was so exhausted. “Oh no,” I said, “we have a lot to talk about.”

Once we were in the vehicle, Jon asked me what that “a lot to talk about” was. “Oh, just dreaming,” I replied. And that’s what we did. We dreamt as if I was pregnant already and just enjoyed it. Jon was talking about all the things he was excited for: the baby being born, it learning to laugh and sit up and walk, and showing it off to friends and family. Talking about details like that was almost overwhelming. We hardly ever do that because we feel like it’s so unlikely to happen that why should we get our expectations up? But the darkness somehow seemed to keep our secret this time and it was almost relieving. All of a sudden, Jon asked, “I wonder what God thinks when we talk about it like this?”

It didn’t take long for a picture to form in my mind and it was so touching that I started crying as I answered Jon. “You know what I think? I think He’s sitting up in heaven, and when He hears us talking like this, it makes Him cry just a bit.” The picture was so real and so new that I sniffled all the rest of the way home. I felt like God had opened the windows of heaven just a bit for me to peer in. He had heard my cries of “God show me that You still love me”, and this was part of His answer.

I don’t know what the future holds for us and I don’t know what God’s plan is. But one thing I do know a little bit surer now. God loves us intensely and the fact that He can’t answer our prayers yet brings tears to His eyes. He loves me and I want to worship and serve Him for it!

(Explanation: When I say that God can’t answer our prayers yet, I am not at all implying that it is impossible for Him to do so. What I am saying is that God can’t answer our prayers because it’s for our good that He doesn’t.)

God’s Almighty-ness

  I sat up in bed and let the sobs take control. My Sweetheart was laying beside me, and now he was rubbing my back. But he had no words of comfort to offer. Neither did he have any desire to express his feelings. He just held me close and let me sob onto his shoulder. I asked him why he wasn’t saying anything and, close to frustration, he reminded me that there was nothing left to say. Of course. I knew that. I also knew that I had thought there were no more tears left to cry. But I had been wrong. This evening, the frustration overwhelmed me and I could do nothing but cry. The “Why’s” filled, not only my head, but, it seemed, also my body. I felt like escaping. But to what? I felt like giving up. But what then?

  In the midst of my frustration, I realized what the epitome of it was. I was frustrated at God’s almighty-ness. You see, here on earth when things don’t work out or there’s a person that is against us, our natural attitude is “Well, if you don’t do _________, then I’ll do _________.” It’s the attitude of threatening. In the height of my frustration, this is what I wanted to tell God, “God, if you don’t answer our prayers for a child, I’ll…”. But I was stumped there. Because I realized that there was nothing I could threaten God with. He was almighty and the worst thing I could think of, which was saying that I would quit serving Him, was not a threat to Him at all. If I quit serving God, He wasn’t going to be at a loss. He can always find someone else. I, this frustrated little human being, I was going to be the one who would be at a loss. And I wondered, “Why. Why does God have to be almighty?” But on the heels of that question, I had to realize that I wanted Him to be nothing but Almighty. I needed Him to be almighty. Because, if I am ever to have a child, it will take someone or something almighty to make that happen. And God is the only one who is almighty. I will no longer ask why He has to be almighty.

  But this still does not take care of all my “Why’s”. Why does God, in His Almighty state, not answer my prayers? I mean, I know God doesn’t do anything without reason, but haven’t we already learnt the lessons He wanted to teach us through infertility? Haven’t we been broken enough?

  And then this morning, after praying that God would show me something, I read something in The Purpose of Man that opened my eyes. See, the biggest problem with this whole infertility thing is one word. Purpose. God has created us as humans with a need to have a purpose. We want to know why we’re doing what we’re doing and we want our lives to serve a purpose. Of course, Jon and I find purpose in being each other’s spouse but that doesn’t fulfil us. We feel like God has more for us as a couple than just to go from one day to the other, working, eating, and sleeping. We want our lives to count. In our marriage vows, we told each other how we looked forward to supporting the other in the parental responsibilities. Parenting has been something we prayed about before we were married. We thought that was God’s purpose for us: to raise a godly seed.

  Now, to have Him say “No”, month after month, makes no sense at all. “God, if you don’t want us to be parents, what do You want us to be?” “And if You want us to do something else, why aren’t You telling us?” “We want to do something for You, don’t You understand?” This is what I found as an answer:

God is infinitely more concerned that He has worshipers than that He has workers.

Stop right there.

“God wants me to learn to worship Him? Is that the purpose here?”

“Well duh, you’ve read six chapters in The Purpose of Man and you haven’t figured that out yet?”

Let’s keep reading.

Unfortunately, most evangelicals do not share this concern. For the most part, evangelicals have been reduced to the position where God is a supervisor desperately seeking help. Standing at the wayside, He tries to find how many helpers will come to His rescue and bail Him out of a tight spot. We mistakenly believe that God needs workers, and so we cheerfully say, “I’ll go to work for the Lord.” if we could only remember that as far as His plans are concerned, God does not need us.

“Okay, God, so You don’t actually need me? I mean, of course I knew that but… really? What am I supposed to do then?”

I think we should work for the Lord, but it is a matter of grace on God’s part. However, I do not think we should ever work until we learn to worship. A worshiper can work with eternal quality in his work but a worker who does not worship is only piling up wood, hay and stubble for the time when God sets the world on fire. God wants worshipers before He wants workers. He calls us back to that for which we were created-to worship the Lord God and to enjoy Him forever. And then out of our deep worship flows our work for Him. Our work is only acceptable to God if our worship is acceptable.

A.W. Tozer

“Lord, teach me to worship You. I need a lot of “unlearning” because my mind is programmed with a need to work for You. But if infertility will teach me to worship so that work with eternal quality flows out, then it is worth all the tears and frustration. Thank You for counting me worthy to suffer now, in order to gain in eternity.”

He Gives Peace

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It seems like such a long time since I shared my heart here! Even though it’s only a month, and even though I hardly know where January went, it still seems like a long time! As I reread my New Year’s post, I was amazed again at the goodness of God! I started the year with such a desire to be at peace with where God had me and to put Him first. Now, a month later, I can’t help but testify again and again of the peace which passes understanding. All through our infertility journey, I wanted this inner peace. I had a measure of peace but I knew there was more to be had. God granted my desire. There is peace! Wonderful peace!

True, a picture like the one above, still tugs at my heart strings. And there are still days where Jon and I can’t tell why we’re so sad until we realize that it’s that inner longing, still there and still causing pain. But there is peace! What more can I say? God has been so good to us. And although we know that it is not our efforts that give us peace and that it would not be so except for the many prayers offered on our behalf, there is a little secret. God blesses those who live in obedience. When we consciously put God first and make an effort to get to know Him, He gives us more than we ask for! It is such a blessing!

And right here I want to say “Thank you!” Thank you to all those who are offering up prayers on our behalf. Thank you for your sympathizing hearts and for telling us that you are still praying. We will forever be indebted to all of you. When I posted the picture that I have above on my WhatsApp status this morning, I was overwhelmed by all of your support once again. Thank you so much for caring! And a special thanks to those who pray, not only that we will become parents, but that through this time God would become more real to us. Your prayers are being heard! God bless you!

Footnote: To those of you who ask us about adoption, especially those that picked that up from my status update, you make us think even more! You see, adoption is on our mind and in our prayers. Since our dating days, we have dreamed about adopting. True, we didn’t think infertility would ever make us consider it as seriously as we do. As of right now though, the doors seem to be shut in that capacity and we are at peace with that. But we will continue to pray and if God does open those doors for us, we will thank Him and pray for grace for that journey. Through the research we have done, we realize that it is not an easy thing, especially in Alberta. But like I told one of my friends the other day, “Either way it will be a miracle.” And I don’t have any idea which one would be the greater: pregnancy or adoption!

Reflections and Resolutions

I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions but for me the New Year is definitely a time where I seriously reflect on the past year and make new resolves for the next year.

In my resolves for 2018 there is one that I desperately long and need to fulfill. It is the one of following hard after God. I have been following hard after “God-and”. As A.W. Tozer writes,

When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the “and” lies our great woe. If we omit the “and” we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

As 2017 drew to a close, I came before God, asking Him to show me some specific areas in my life that needed to change. One of those was this evil habit. I was seeking God…and motherhood. I was desperately praying and seeking God but I wasn’t seeking just Him. And that is where the problem was. In all reality, I was living in idolatry. I’ve just finished reading through the Bible and when I read about idolatry, I knew it could apply to my life but I didn’t take it seriously enough. Motherhood was my idol. God absolutely cannot fulfill that desire if I have made it my idol! It would contradict His very character to do so! I have to serve Him, and Him alone!

My flesh recoils at this. It tells me that life will be dry and boring, that I will feel unfulfilled if I seek only God. But the next paragraph in The Pursuit of God reads like this.

We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite is true. We can well afford to make God our All, to concentrate, to sacrifice the many for the One.

And the last paragraph of Chapter 1

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.

Even when it is written so well, my flesh still doesn’t agree. However, all of 2017, God has been trying to teach us, as a couple, that our sufficiency is only in Him. We cannot do anything (especially become parents 😉 ), if we do not put Him first in our lives. He demands all, or nothing. We have seen it so clearly, that when we put God first and obey in every aspect, He blesses us. But as soon as we err, that blessing is removed. It feels almost like a boot camp of sorts because the rules are so strict. But if we can learn this lesson now (and I have to admit, I’ve been a terrible student), we will be saved a lot of grief later in life. Even though I can’t see God’s plan, I know that He has a reason. It is so assuring to know that God has the very best in mind for us and that His plan is trustworthy. Although I am still learning to trust, I am so thankful that I have a Father that is in control and that will also teach me all the lessons I need to learn if I am willing to be taught.

  All Honour and Glory and Praise belongs to our God because He is Merciful and Gracious and Faithful! 

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Strength for Today, and Bright Hope for Tomorrow!!

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I woke up with this as my “day-starter”. God has been so good to us! He has faithfully been there for us this past year when “Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow” seemed a thing of the past. He has carried us through when we couldn’t walk on our own anymore and were about to give up. He has let hardships come our way so that we would change. He has given us the tenacity to keep seeking Him when it seemed like His promises were failing. His faithfulness has been great to us!

This month has been a month of new beginnings. We sold our car and bought a new one. Jon is quitting his job of almost two years and starting a new one. We are quite close to having our renovation completed and starting life in a house that is not in progress!! But most importantly, we have a new start to our marriage relationship!! God has been so good! He worked in us and slowly changed us so that this ‘much-needed’ new start could come!! Having this resolved has changed so many things! It has made life so much easier! Its effects are so far-reaching! Praise the Lord!!

It has given us new “Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow.” We are praying that God took us through infertility to get us to the point we are at now, because that means we can get pregnant (insert cheers and excited dancing)!!! This gives us new hope!

This new hope caused me to start my day on an exciting note! I went back to bed after Jon left for work and dreamt a very vivid, very ‘true-to-life’ dream about us having a little baby girl! Maybe it’s childish to share this but, when you’ve gone through infertility and imagined that joy so many times, to dream about it is so meaningful!! No matter how childish it is, I started my day with a smile!!

Thanking God for being faithful in giving us strength and hope and praying for dreams to come true,

Yesenia

 

Obedience

The Eternal Goal

The Eternal Goal

By Oswald Chambers

Abraham has reached the place where he is in touch with the very nature of God, he understands now the Reality of God.

“My goal is God Himself…
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.”

“At any cost, by any road” means nothing self-chosen in the way God brings us to the goal.

There is no possibility of questioning when God speaks if He speaks to His own nature in me; prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says — “Come,” I simply come; when He says — “Let go,” I let go; when He says — “Trust in God in this matter,” I do trust. The whole working out is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

God’s revelation of Himself to me is determined by my character, not by God’s character.

“Tis because I am mean,
Thy ways so oft look mean to me.”

By the discipline of obedience I get to the place where Abraham was and I see Who God is. I never have a real God until I have come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ, then I know that “in all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.”

The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God. We read some things in the Bible three hundred and sixty-five times and they mean nothing to us; then all of a sudden we see what God means, because in some particular we have obeyed God, and instantly His nature is opened up. “All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen.” The “yea” must be born of obedience; when by the obedience of our lives we say “Amen” to a promise, then that promise is ours.

 


 

Obedience. Such an important part of our Christian lives!

The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God.

So often, we want to do something great. We want our lives to be of so much use to God. We pray that He will be glorified through us. We ask Him to work in our lives. But we don’t realize that, all we are asked to do, is to be obedient.

Be it small or great, whatever it is that God is asking of you, He will not let you move on till you have obeyed.

But once we do obey, the half cannot be told of all that God will do!

As you all know, Jon and I are praying to become parents. Having gone through this past year, I realize again and again that I know what to do because of all my parents taught me in my younger years. They didn’t teach me how to be a wife, they taught me how to live life and it’s helped me so many times in my struggle to be a better wife. As I ponder this, I get overwhelmed. How will I ever teach our children all the things my parents taught me?! How will I raise children fit for this evil world? Will they be able to stay strong?

But then the still, small voice comes, “If you live in obedience, I will guide you and your children will learn all the things they need to know.” How precious!

“Oh God, let me never forget this wondrous truth!”

Sometimes I worry that I am not growing in the way that God would like me to. But again and again, He assures me that if I live in obedience, He will take me everywhere I need to be.

It seems to simple. Is that all I have to do? But then God calls me to obey in a certain particular and I say, “Not that, God. I don’t want to live in obedience here or there.” It calls for a surrender of the will, but when I say “Yes”, God stays true to His promises and my life is blessed because I am in the centre of His blessed will!

There is no possibility of questioning when God speaks if He speaks to His own nature in me; prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says — “Come,” I simply come; when He says — “Let go,” I let go; when He says — “Trust in God in this matter,” I do trust. The whole working out is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

A Clean Slate

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It’s a law of nature. Our human nature is so pleased with something like a clean slate, and yet, there is an almost irresistible urge to write on it. Just look at what happens to big open walls or clean railroad cars. Even though the drawing that is done isn’t always the most neat and most beautiful thing, there is a gift and a unique sense of art about it. As as perfectionist, when I see a clean slate or an blank sheet of paper, I really want to fill it with something neat or beautiful. I am not an artist of any sort so this usually doesn’t work for me.

However, there is a really important slate that I work on every single day. Each morning, God gives it to me, clean and ready for use. It is totally up to me, how I choose to fill it. As a child, my parents impressed on me the importance of filling this slate well. Yes, we have the blood of Jesus that can clean our slate at any time during the day, but the day is so much better when we do our best to fill our slate well.

This concept is one that I rarely think about in detail, but it has become one of those principles by which I live my life. A while ago, however, it became more meaningful to me. As I mentioned before, I am a perfectionist. So when I mess up, I desperately want to start over. I don’t know how to work with a mess. When my daily slate gets dirty because of a decision I made, I really want it to be clean again so I can start over.

Here, I have a problem. It has caused me a lot of unnecessary heaviness and hardship. I realize, as Oswald Chambers says,

Beware of the pleasant view of the Fatherhood of God – God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That sentiment has no place whatever in the New Testament. The only ground on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ; to put forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive sin and reinstate us in His favour is through the Cross of Christ, and in no other way. Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony of Calvary. It is possible to take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and our sanctification with the simplicity of faith, and to forget at what enormous cost to God it was all made ours.

Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace; it cost God the Cross of Jesus Christ before He could forgive sin and remain a holy God. Never accept a view of the Fatherhood of God if it blots out the Atonement. The revelation of God is that He cannot forgive; He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God by the Atonement. God’s forgiveness is only natural in the super-natural domain.

  In an effort to understand this, and make it real in my life, I made a mistake. Instead of accepting my clean slate (even though it cost so much to cleanse it), I would reject it. I would tell God, by my actions, that, “God, this cost You too much. I can’t accept it. Because it is worth so much, I’ll just let you keep it because I feel too bad to accept this gift from You.” So I lived my day with a dirty slate. All of my failures from yesterday staring me in the face, causing me frequently to repeat them. My problems just got bigger and bigger and I spiralled deeper and deeper into depression. God was offering me forgiveness, but I was too proud. I rejected the clean slate that He offered again and again, choosing to live in my own misery.

Finally I realized a great truth. That clean slate would be there for me, whether I accepted it or not. If I didn’t use it, nobody else would. God had it there, just for me and my rejecting it was not holiness or righteousness, it was pride and even blasphemy! So I humbled myself and accepted that slate. The least I can do, but all that God wants of me, is to accept it with gratitude and fill it with one good thing at a time.

Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is slight. Sanctification is simply the marvellous expression of the forgiveness of sins in a human life, but the thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin. Paul never got away from this. When once you realise all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vice, constrained by the love of God.

  The next thing I realized, in thinking about a clean slate, is that God isn’t the only one who gives clean slates. I do too. Every time I forgive someone completely, I hand them a clean slate (in that area).
  This became very real to me in marriage. When Jon fails and asks my forgiveness, how am I forgiving him?  Do I say, “I forgive you” but if he fails again in that area, do I bring out the old slate that has all his past failures on it? Do I add up his transgressions? Or do I completely wash his slate so that, next time he asks my forgiveness, I only have one thing on there to clear away? This is how God treats me, should I not pass this on?
   This doesn’t just apply to Jon. How about my brothers and sisters in Christ? Do I forgive them completely or do I let the slate get dirty and dirtier? When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, Jesus answered in a way that didn’t give Peter any right to hold back forgiveness, complete forgiveness. The same applies to me.
  So let’s accept the forgiveness of God with grateful hearts, never forgetting how much it cost, and pass that forgiveness on to those around us.
P.S. I realize that forgiveness and reconciliation are very closely related. I did not touch on reconciliation here but that plays a big role on this topic. For a beautiful representation of “A Realistic Reconciliation”, follow this link. John D. Martin does a wonderful job of explaining it.