WABUSH OR BUST!

24 07 2018

Repent-turn-around-framedI have spent the last 36 years in full time ministry as a Pastor. I have observed Believers in almost every season of life. I don’t believe that I am going out on a limb when I say that most Christians expect to be hammered with some supernatural rod of judgment when they fail. Many people actually picture the Almighty loaded and ready to shoot lightning bolts of punishment at the first sign of failure or error. While I do believe that our God is holy and just in his nature, He more often than not chooses to respond to us with grace and mercy, actually sparing the rod as long as he can so that the child doesn’t end up destroyed by his or her own selfish immature choices in the long run. God is not one to mess around with, but he is no monster either.

Growing up in the 1960’s, corporal punishment was pretty much accepted and encouraged within our society. It didn’t just happen in the home, but schools too were pretty liberal with their slaps and their slams. I was actually 22 years old the last time my Mom attempted to use a wooden spoon on me. She demanded that I not drive from North Jersey to Lebanon, Pennsylvania to see my fiancé Terri. I told her I was going no matter what. She grabbed the spoon and began to whack me with it. I looked at her with my mouth wide open wondering, “Really Mom? I am not sure this is working!” The wood broke in two and so she proceeded to grab me by the collar of my shirt until it was ripped right off my body. I remember just shaking my head at the absurdity of what was happening. I went anyway, even without her blessing. I still believe I did the right thing as I honored my Mom by not fighting back in any way, even though she chose to treat me like a two-year-old. I still wish we could have done that whole crazy afternoon over again.

 If today, you choose to muster up the courage to approach God with humility and take full responsibility over the many ways that your behavior has been less than stellar in his sight, you don’t have to do so cringing in a pit of despair covered by guilt and shame. God never uses guilt to manipulate his children. As a matter of fact, nobody is cheering for you more than the Lord when we people come to the end of ourselves because with less of us we are now ready for more of him.

Believe it or not but your Heavenly Father desires you to come back to where you belong. He grieves for our pain, and his compassion is infinitely endless. He is waiting with open arms to embrace his wayward sons and daughters as they return to him. Salvation doesn’t culminate in a sermon but in a heaven wide celebration. All the angels in heaven rejoice when any stumbling sheep comes home to the fold. And do you know what? If we stop and think about it, the only way out is the only way in and it is the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Let me try to illustrate with the iron-mining town of Wabush, Canada, in Labrador Province which for many years was only accessible by railroad or airplane; there was no road leading to the town. Wabush was built in the early 1960s as a residential community for workers at the mines. But it wasn’t until the late 1980s that a road was built, making Wabush accessible by car. That road is still the only road into Wabush. If you want to leave Wabush, you must turn around and take that same road, moving in the opposite direction. Life is much like the town of Wabush. In our journey, if we attempt to do things only within our own strength, we will eventually reach the end of the road. We can go no further. It is a guaranteed dead end! If we want to get out of the place we’re in, we are going to have to turn around and go in the opposite direction. That’s what it really means to repent! It all boils down not to what we say but what we do. If we want to turn completely around and go back the opposite way, we must be willing to do a one eighty. Talking about it and singing about it doesn’t change our location. Turn around and instead of walking away, walk to the One who was willing to run to you. Jesus took our wooden spoon, the belt, the switches and all the other instruments that were used to beat us rather than build us back up.

Have you come to your own Wabush? Have you been going the wrong way, away from God? Now it’s time for you to stop, turn completely around, and take the road of repentance. God knows our pain and has tasted our bewilderment and has grieved over our tortured hearts! Can you be open to admitting that perhaps you have been wrong about God, wrong about life, and wrong about yourself. This is a tough lesson for all of us. There is no more bitter pill to swallow than the pill of finding you are wrong when you thought you were right.

Life has a way of changing our perspective as we grow older. Sometimes when people reach a certain stage of life, they look back on the convictions of their youth and the values they have stood for, the attitudes they have held and they realize that they have been wrong in their approach to life.

Looking back on your life, you may realize that what you thought was selfless love was actually self-centered pride and desire. What you thought was idealism was actually arrogance and egotism.

What you thought was truth was an illusion. In truth, it’s a difficult lesson for us all to learn. But if we don’t learn it, we will settle to be a slave to sin when we could have been a son or daughter of God!

 Anybody here want to correct some mistakes before it is too late?

Anybody here not wanting to spend all eternity stuck in Wabush?

Anybody here ready to turn around and come home?

 


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