Friday, June 1, 2012
Friends, we all have scars. Scars of a painful past. Scars caused by deep regret. Scars from missed opportunities...scars from rejection...scars from the sinful choices of others. But today, I'm reminded that our scars can also remind us of God's relentless love for us. Our scars can serve as a reminder, that though the enemy tried to devour us, GOD's love would NOT let us go.
Today, I was reminded of an illustration I read several years ago. It reads like this: "...on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer... In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could. Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a u-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. An incredible tug-of-war between the two began. The alligator was much stronger than the father but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably...the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack. On his arms were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he so loved. The newspaper reporter interviewing the boy after the trauma asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go." (http://www.saltforsermons.org.uk/sermon-illustrations/topics/gods-love/)
In the midst of your struggle, God is holding onto you. When you feel helpless, hopeless, abandoned or forsaken, God promises he won't forget you.
In Isaiah 49:14-16, the prophet addressed God's people saying: "Zion (Zion simply means God's chosen people) said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." (God's response was...) "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." (NIV)
Be encouraged. Even when we've plunged into dangerous waters or waded into the enemy's domain because of our passion to have a "fun swim"...God is determined to hold fast to us.
Romans 8:38-39: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV)
Today, I hope you will remember that YOU are deeply loved!