Monday, November 18, 2013

Merciful Monday: Follow the Yellow Brick Road!

But now this is what the Lord says:
“Do not weep any longer,
    for I will reward you,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come back to you
    from the distant land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,” says the Lord.   
 “Your children will come again to their own land.
18 I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely,
    like a calf that needs training for the yoke.
Turn me again to you and restore me,
    for you alone are the Lord my God.
19 I turned away from God, but then I was sorry.
I kicked myself for my stupidity!
    I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’
20 “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the Lord.
“I often have to punish him,
    but I still love him.
That’s why I long for him
    and surely will have mercy on him.
21 Set up road signs; put up guideposts.
Mark well the path
    by which you came.
Come back again, my virgin Israel;
    return to your towns here.
22 How long will you wander, my wayward daughter?
For the Lord will cause something new to happen—
    Israel will embrace her God" (Jeremiah 31:16-22)

Remember the movie The Wizard of Oz? The whole story is centered around the main character, Dorothy, following the Yellow Brick Road, a path that will lead her to an all-wise wizard, to safety, to home. The only problem is that along the way, she repeatedly gets sidetracked—by the Wicked Witch, a forest of angry trees, and other evils. At times she seems to have lost her way, unsure of who and where exactly she is, until she remembers her simple directions: to follow the yellow brick road.
Don't Get sidetracked. Follow the Yellow Brick Road!
A lot of times, we also get sidetracked from our purpose. We get sidetracked by guilt and shame that begin to weigh us down. We get sidetracked licking our wounds. We get sidetracked by holding on to people that God wants us to place in his hands.  Have you ever been so sidetracked that you felt like you were just wandering through life unsure of where you are headed and unsure of how to reach God even if you wanted to? If so, I've got good news for you! The Lord says: Do not weep any longer because there is hope for the future.

I’ve been sidetracked by all of these things. When I think back on some of the wrong things that I have done in the past I laugh about them because the craziness of the actions can be funny. When I think of other things, I genuinely wish I had not done them, and I get upset at myself all over again! Like Jeremiah, I am ashamed and I kick myself for my stupidity because I allowed myself to be taken off course. In essence I personally created these negative results. 

 Sometimes we make stupid decisions throughout our journey that take us off our path and take our eyes off of the prize (Jesus!) and as a result, bad things happen to us so we lick our wounds, relishing in our depression and wallowing in the negative. But when bad things happen to us, it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us or dislikes us more than other people that we think have “good” lives. It means that, he has to punish us sometimes for our own good, and even when he does, he does so in love and in mercy because we are his “darling” children. He sends love and mercy remind us to remind us to “follow the yellow brick road” as he refocuses our lenses on Him. 
Other times, I’ve been saddened by the decisions of others, by friends and family members that have walked away, that made life decisions that God does not agree with and simultaneously led me toward ungodly acts. Luckily, there is hope of return “from the distant land of the enemy” for us and for our friends and family. God says that he has “set up road signs; put up guideposts” and marked our paths so that we can return to Him. Luckily, God ALWAYS forgives and allows us to continue on our paths, we just have to remember to do the same! 

When you feel lost and as if you have strayed from the right path, God will lead you back. He can restore a wayward soul and a wayward mind. Don’t be confused and don’t weep any longer. Forgive yourself and others, let go, release yourself from past hurts, and refocus on the task at hand. Declare that you are obstinate and focused on God! He will make all things new if you follow Him!

Merciful Mondays: Jael
For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31

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