For the past two weeks, I’ve been getting only about four hours of sleep a night. Once I wake up, I’m awake for good. This is a pattern of sleep I’ve known before (fibromyalsia being the prime cause), and I was sorry to see its return after more than a year of seven to eight hour nights.
This morning, a few minutes before 3:00 a.m., I awoke from a dream. I don’t remember any details, although I think what started the dream was watching a movie last night about three generations of women who were so dysfunctional and abused and abusive and warped by sin and their view of the world that I felt my heart break for those fictional characters. Anyway that movie brought to mind stuff from my past, stuff I regret deeply, despite the passage of two-plus decades. And that "stuff" was a direct result of the period of time when I drifted away from Jesus. When we don’t get and/or stay close to God, we make very poor choices and are influenced by the world’s strong pull and temptations.
But this morning, on the heels of the memories and familiar feelings of remorse, a Bible verse flooded my mind and heart:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, NASB)
Not just forgiven but cleansed. Not just cleansed of a little but from all. Here is the same verse in the Amplified Bible:
If we [freely] admit that we have
sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own
nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our
lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness
[everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and
I’ve known this Scripture since I first gave my heart to Jesus. It’s one I memorized and have quoted many, many times through the years. I haven’t just known it; I’ve believed it. But this morning, I felt God wanting me to grasp the truth of it in a new and deeper way. I felt it wash over me, engulf me, set me free. And from there, He took me to the beauty of Psalm 139 (quotes below using the NLT):
O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my every thought when far away.
You chart the path ahead of me
and tell me where to stop and rest.
Every moment you know where I am.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.
You both precede and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to know! (verses 1-6)
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!
They are innumerable!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up in the morning,
you are still with me! (verse 17-18)
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (verses 23-24)
Amazing. Awesome. Such knowledge is, indeed, too wonderful for me to comprehend.
Do you have regrets that still haunt you? If so, I hope you felt God at work in you as you read those words above.
In the grip of His grace,