It can be difficult to lie awake in the darkest hours of the night.
Sometimes, in the stillness, we are appalled and frightened by the evidence of darkness we discover within ourselves.
If we have consciences made tender by encounter with the living God, we recognize our desperate need for peace and cleansing, refreshing and wholeness for our battered souls.
And in kindness, God offers this to us.
But a dark and dreadful thing can happen, if we shrink from Him in shame and fear and attempt to take matters into our own hands. We succumb to deception: we should fix this; we can make things better.
Although it would seem otherwise, this is the energizing force and spirit behind religious systems. We work and pray and feel good and right; then suddenly fail again.
So, merciless and unmoveable, guilt screeches harsh pronouncements against us, clawing and howling with tormenting shame and regret. The pressure to perform–and the weight of our failures in the attempt–becomes a crushing burden, stealing our breath and stopping our hearts.
We are overwhelmed by our weakness. We are terrified of exposure. We feel undeserving of forgiveness and love from God.
And religion sings a siren song of false redemption, with refrains of rigid performance and stern morality.
But true faith tenderly serenades us with new melody, a resonance of praise and joy that causes us to listen for refrains unknown, filling us with courage to lift our gaze and search for horizons bright with promise.
We are loved beyond all reason, beyond all human comprehension by the Father of Lights.
He is the God who dwells in an unapproachable inferno of holiness and glory. The universe is too small to contain Him.
Yet He desires to be with us. He beckons us to approach Him. He lavishes love upon us, even when we are not aware of Him. He seeks to live among and within us. If we go to Him, He strips us of the tattered and filth-spattered rags of our sin and our self-effort and our catastrophic brokenness. We become betrothed to Jesus as His Bride, and He wraps us in new garments woven from His own glory and sacrifice, robes stunning in beauty, exquisite in perfection, pulsating with light and melody that releases the sounds of heaven and perfumes the atmosphere with the fragrance of Christ.
This is our identity. This is our destiny.
We see Jesus described in Psalm 45 as our Mighty King, possessing the scepter of righteousness to rule His Kingdom. Grace is poured upon His lips. He exudes glory and majesty, and He goes forth triumphantly for truth, humility and justice.
And we belong to Him. He loves us with unimaginable passion.
He announces to you and me this day:
…forget (your past)…the King greatly desires your beauty; because He is your Lord, worship Him…(you) are glorious within the King’s palace; (your) clothing is woven with gold. (You) shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors. (Psalm 45:10, 11, 13, 14).
He greatly desires us. He has created us for love and delivered us from bondage.
You are His beloved child, part of His Bride, a member of His Body. Let yourself cry out to Him from the depths of your heart, even as He sings over you and gives you His heart. Receive His love and be freed from shame.