“Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.” (Psalms 119:135)
When Facebook came on the scene a lot of us were a little afraid of what it would mean to be so connected. Do you remember? MySpace was the young people’s “thing” and deemed too worldly for most of the church people I knew, but Facebook was a step up from Classmates.com. We were able to connect with friends and people we hadn’t seen or heard from in years.
All of a sudden it was possible to find out what had happened to that best friend from the 2nd grade and we all began linking up with friendship requests and messages. However, I remember getting a message from a girl I went to college with and she was a little rude to me. She wrote, “Wow, YOU are a missionary? I NEVER thought you would serve the Lord!”
I will give you two guesses as to whether or not I accepted her request or replied to her message. The old Sheri wanted to reach through that computer and thump that now pastor’s wife on the head. I laughed it off and considered reminding her of a few secrets about her life she seemed to have forgotten that I knew, but I refrained.
People will always be the first to throw your past up in your face. It is human nature. We like to one up each other for some reason and I suspect this behavior will continue until Jesus comes back and rescues us from devouring one another with our meanness.
What that pastor’s wife did not know about that time in my life in college was that I was trying to straighten up and live for the Lord. I was battling daily and it was a very difficult time. I had zero people on my side that believed I could be better. I would wake up and take my Bible to the lake on our college campus and I would read and pray. I begged God to help me overcome my issues. I was asking Him, in essence, to shine His face upon me and teach me from His Word, just like the psalmist. And He heard me.
It wasn’t long before my boss, Bro. Tim Coleman, invited me to go out for ice cream with him and his wife. She was this beautiful blonde Barbie doll that never seemed to stop smiling. They drove me around and started giving me hope about my future. Sure, I had gotten in trouble and lost an entire semester, but they took God’s Word and showed me the following passage:
“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
Bro. Coleman showed me that repentance of sin brings something good along with it. It brings a zeal for what is right. God used this man and his wife to shine His face on me and I will never, ever forget it.
Even if people won’t let you become someone different in their eyes, remind yourself that in God’s eyes, you are forgiven, loved and clear in the matter.
All of us are going to be led astray by our flesh to do things that we KNOW we should not do. Anyone who claims to be sinless is a liar. (1 John 1:8) We live in a body contaminated by sin and the old man and flesh will be the voice we sometimes listen to and we have to find that spot beside our bed or couch or the altar at church and get on our knees and confess our sins to the Lord. But after we confess is a great moment to ask God to shine through the mess we have made and teach us.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Don’t wallow in your mistakes, learn from them. Ask God to teach you and give you some light in the matter. He will! He can’t be defeated and He is always victorious, so He will show you how to get through whatever it is you need.
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
I know it is hard to combat the thoughts of giving in and giving up, but if you could just take tomorrow and try to see God’s face shining down on you, smiling at you and offering you His hand, you can make it one more day. Don’t give up.
Until Next Time, Lord willing,