Starting over. It’s the second chance we didn’t think we’d have. It’s a wave of relief that washes over our past mistakes. It is a gift from God we don’t deserve.
In the book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah looks back at the destruction of Jerusalem. God promised that his people would face punishment for their sinful choices, and he was true to his word. Their city had been ravaged, and they were now living in exile. The temple was completely destroyed.
In the midst of Jeremiah’s lament, however, he remembers the mercy of God. Were it not for God’s mercy, every one of God’s people would have perished. The judgment on them was painful, but God would not leave them ruined. Eventually, after they acknowledged their disobedience and confessed their sin, God would forgive and restore them. He would allow them to start over once more. And he does the same for us.
Maybe you have experienced the discipline of God in your own life. You have suffered painful consequences for sinful choices you have made. Perhaps you feel that God has left you there. If so, remember that although God is just, he is also full of mercy. His compassions never fail. He promises to forgive us when we come to him and confess what we have done or not done. No matter how you have offended God, you can have hope because of his great mercy. You can always have a fresh start with him because his compassions are “new every morning.”
Take some time to thank God for the specific ways he has acted mercifully toward you. Thank him for forgiving your sin. Express gratitude to him for actively restoring you. You may even want to sing or pray the words to the hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”:
>“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
>Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
>Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
>Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”
Recall a time in your life when you experienced God’s discipline for disobedient choices. How did you feel?
When you disobey God, do you quickly respond with repentance and confession? Why or why not?
In what way have you experienced the ever-new compassion of God?
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Jeremiah 3:12–13; Zechariah 10:6; Luke 15:3–24