Not to sound too much like a broken record, but my inspiration this week comes again from St. Paul. Continuing in my reading of Romans, Paul introduced the just & wrathful God. I had a lengthy discussion about this concept with the other girls, and their experiences reflected my own. We all seemed to have trouble connecting the image of a wrathful God with that of the merciful, loving God.
I think this conflict comes from missing a bridge somewhere. When we are young, we're taught about Jesus and His love for us, how God created this beautiful world, and how much God loves each and every one of us. All this is true. When we become adults, we're told to take responsibility for our sins, seek to act in just and loving ways, seek forgiveness when we do not and seek God's grace always. This is how we should live. However, I never felt as if I was fully introduced to the God in Romans as Paul describes Him, as if I was being asked to jump across a gap in my knowledge of God.
This just and righteous God allows our choice to reject Him and He will give us to our sins, and the consequences therein. Not to be a Debby Downer, but hell is a very real possibility; one Jesus makes us aware of in the gospel. God is just, and we do have free will. Thus some of us will choose the wrong path and God will allow us to forsake Him.
But that is the key point: God will allow us to forsake Him. It is never the other way around. He would prefer that we accept His love, and seek Him always. And if not that, then at least seek forgiveness and grace, because He is all merciful and loving and will grant that if asked. This week opened my eyes to see how both the just, righteous God and the merciful, loving God are one and the same. And how lucky for us.
So my challenge to myself, and to you--when you are wrong, or out of synch with God, do not forget that He will allow you to walk away from Him. Seek forgiveness, repent, and know that His grace alone will gain you heaven. And above all, be thankful, as I am, that He is merciful.
Peace & Blessings--Clare