“Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. Daniel 9:15-16 (NIV).
The toughest lesson we can learn in life is, “God is God and I’m not.” It goes back to the very first sin, to Eve and Adam in the garden; it’s the lesson they forgot. I’ve forgotten it before; have you?
This is a story I believe I told here before. Years ago, after my wife had left me, I was wallowing in misery, in self-pity. I deserved it; it wasn’t her fault. I wasn’t yet broken; I hadn’t yet seen how awful things could be. Yet I was starting to grasp how terribly I had wronged her, how my sins had caused our split. I wanted to die. In fact, one night, I sat at the kitchen table and counted out pills just to see how many it would take to kill myself. Thank the Lord that someone talked me out of that.
A day or two later, a friend unexpectedly told me, “Dave, there’s only been one perfect person who ever lived and you aren’t him.” I didn’t know what this friend believed; his faith was a mystery to me even as we had known each other for years. But what he told me was a powerful reminder that I wasn’t God, that my anguish and self-focus were pulling me away from God. It’s a good thing to realize and ‘own’ our sins, but then the better thing is to take them to the cross and lay them down there. Jesus hung on that cross so we could do just that. Only He could take our sins and make eternal amends for them. Realizing that meant realizing I’m not God but He is.
My friend’s words literally changed my life. They were a lifeline he didn’t even know I desperately needed. We never truly understand the impact our small moments of genuine honesty and faith may have on other people. Every day, people go through untold calamities, most of which we know nothing about. How amazing is it that we then get to show the love of Jesus to them simply by saying and doing things for them the way He would while remembering that we aren’t God.
For further reading: Exodus 3:20, Judges 5:11, Nehemiah 9:10, Psalm 31:1, Psalm 85:3, Isaiah 5:25, Jeremiah 32:21, Daniel 9:17
My Lord, You are God and I am not. Thank You for that.
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