As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Daniel 9:13
Behind every sin is a world of insight. Repentance is often done quickly at an altar but seeking God as to why the sin was committed can never be momentary. Sometimes, I can be careless, sin easily, and then say I’m sorry over a slip-up. But, most of the time, sin results from years of struggle in a certain area. Iniquity that emerges out of old strongholds is the kind that Daniel references here in his famous prayer.
Israel sinned against God over a long period of time. God wooed, sent prophets to warn, but still they went their own way. Not only did they miss the sweet fruit of repentance but they failed to gain insight about their detour away from God. Their hard-heartedness kept them from recognizing that rebellion started with small considerations to do their own thing. What attracted them at the beginning? How did they whitewash sin as it progressed? How long did they enjoy the detour before calamity hit? Were they aware that their sins got bigger and bolder over time? Do they remember caring less and less as sin grew? These are the questions that accompany true restoration.
When God has done a deep work in me, it took years, not days. He shed light on my wayward path, helping me see it as the result of making one small choice after another. The decisions I thought inconsequential were really weighty. There was no insignificant step on the path. My selfish road was a long and winding one and so was the review as God gave me spiritual insight into my own heart. It took me a long time to dismantle my life and God took a long time to rebuild it. All this was done against the backdrop of a breakdown in my forties.
You may think this sounds grueling and depressing. But it is not. That’s the thing! Grace wraps this journey of restoration. While learning, while grieving, there is also joy that I am no longer wandering and vulnerable; but safe in God’s cocoon. His voice is instructive and His manner is merciful. His truth just clicks. It’s clean, simple, yet profound. Satan’s thinking is cobwebbed. Estrangement from God is marked by fog and confusion. Exhaustion and futility are the result.
If you find yourself in a place of rugged introspection, suffering from the fallout of sinful choices, do not fear the way home. Home is where God is. Your companion is Jesus. He is a friend, not an enemy. He is a gentle teacher and is kind with the pace. If you weep over your sin, He holds you and soothes you. Repentance, that thing our carnal nature abhors, is the really the thing that unlocks the door of heaven.
‘Thy kingdom come’ to every life who asks for a second chance today. Amen