Am I in Trouble?
It’s not just a question from the mouth of a disobedient toddler.
It’s the same question that many of us ask when we think about opening God’s word after an absence of days, weeks, or months.
“How can I make up for my failure before I dare to sit in his presence?”
“Surely he is disappointed, with arms folded and a smug look of ‘It’s about time, slacker.’”
“Is he annoyed, exasperated, angry, cold?”
“Is he even going to bless me with any insight after I have been absent from his word for so long?”
When we look at ourselves, and our performance over the past few days (or weeks or months) to assess our right to come before God in his word and prayer, we are dangerously muting the same gospel truth we haven’t been abiding in for however long. It’s the same truth that got us into a relationship with him in the first place — he is gracious!
By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9)
He says, “Come, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Whether it has been your busyness, laziness, or despondency that has made you weary, and kept you distant, the call is the same: “Come!” There is an abundance of joy in his presence and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). We can’t get this joy in punishing ourselves for not tasting the honey (Psalm 119:103). Come into his presence, and lap it up!
He Wants You Back
On my very best gospel days as a mommy — few as they may be — when my naughty little girls have pushed me away and shoot me the look of “Am I in trouble?” I get on my knees, with arms wide open, and remind them of what has been true since their birth. “I love you no matter what. You are fully accepted. And whenever you can get over here and let me squeeze you, we will both be happier.”
When he who knew no sin became sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21); when there is no more condemnation for us who are in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1); when he who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how much more will he graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32) — including a very big open-armed invitation that says, “Come here, my dear one; I would be delighted to speak to you.”
In the refrain of Psalm 136, his steadfast love endures forever. He wants restoration. He wants for you to hear his voice beckoning. He’ll have you back in a moment. Stop beating yourself down, and come.
He. Wants. You.
Along with Jerry Bridges, Nancy Guthrie, and Ben Stuart, Samantha Poteat is a seminar speaker for Desiring God’s upcoming conference called Look at the Book: Reading the Bible for Yourself. Her session is titled “The B-I-B-L-E: Yes, That’s the Book for...Us.” More on personal Bible study from Desiring God: