If you’ve got two strikes in baseball, you’re on your toes. You don’t know what’s going to happen; you just don’t want to get out. And if the pitcher has been striking people out left and right, you’re probably terrified. There’s a lot riding on this one pitch. Maybe some college scouts are watching, or even some major leagues are in the stands, watching your every move. If you swing and miss, you’re out. Game over.
That’s how I feel about God right now. He’s the pitcher, and I’m at bat. He’s trying to get me out. I’m not very good at baseball anyway, but He’s not showing too much mercy (He’s a bad sport, go figure). I’ve got two strikes. One more, and that’s game over for me. I don’t want to get out!
I know the Truth. God isn’t going to kick me out of His Kingdom after three strikes. He’s a compassionate, loving, forgiving creator.
But do I believe that? Heck No.
Here’s what I DO believe about God: God is kind, forgiving, merciful, and loving. But He gets exhausted when I ask for forgiveness over and over, only to turn around and sin again. He gets tired of me making the same mistakes. He doesn’t understand why I disobey Him, and He’s over it. He doesn’t like me very much anymore. There’s no way He can forgive me again, good grief. He gave me a chance to redeem myself, and I failed.
If you’ve never felt this way, and you’re always confident of His never-ending mercies and His steadfast love, then I commend you. I want to know how you do it. Also, I want to know how you sleep at night, you dirty liar.
Bottom line is, I just don’t think God would possibly keep me in His Kingdom after the way I behave. He shows me how great and awesome He is, and then I rebel against Him. In the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Here’s what I SHOULD believe about God: God cannot get exhausted. It’s as simple as that. Isaiah 40:28 says that pretty clearly. He does not faint or grow weary, because he is the everlasting God. He doesn’t get tired of me. I like to think that because I am so precious in His eyes (Isaiah 43:4), God would never get tired of me. And He’s the one beyond understanding; my sinfulness does not confuse Him. Also, if God was going to stop loving me after a while, I doubt He would let His son die for that. Jesus didn’t die for a temporary love. How dumb that would be! And redeem myself? Who do I think I am? No wonder I feel like a failure. My filthy rags cannot bring redemption (Isaiah 64:6) and God is well aware of that (hello, Jesus?).
A little nugget that I fell in love with this morning was Lamentations 3:22-23. This passage combated everything that I constantly misbelieve about God.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I read this and felt comfort. My guilt of being the worst daughter in the literal universe started to fall away. EVERY MORNING His mercies are new. I get to start every single day with a clean slate. And despite the fact that at the end of the day, this “slate” is disgusting and covered in sin, I get a new one tomorrow. His steadfast love never ceases. It won’t stop, despite my sinfulness. What! Regardless of whether I believe that or not, it’s true.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! [Romans 6:1]
I don’t want to convince myself or anyone else that I am free to roll around in sin and just get a sin-bath cleanse the next day. While it is true that grace does abound, I am now considered “dead” to sin. This grace and mercy is a call to action. I need to allow God to pour his mercy over me every morning because no matter how hard I do try, I’m going to fail. But at the same time, I need to let God change my heart towards my sin and let Him teach me how to combat my sin, not just embrace my failure.
I’ve been looking at God the wrong way. He’s not pitching against me, He’s the coach that pats me on the back when I strike out and tells me that I’ll “get ‘em next time,” and sets up extra practice time so He can teach me how to play better. He has some great strategies. He doesn’t want me to give up. I’m not out of the game!
He’s a great coach and lets me stay at bat, even though I suck at baseball.