I forget to collect the mail on occasion.
Most things that come through the mail are ads, unasked-for periodicals, and pleas to vote for certain people. It’s that season.
While John’s been gone, I didn’t bother to go to the mailbox down the street. Too many times on returning home from work it was pouring or lightning with a passion.
Or I’d just forget.
I finally thought of it and made my trek to the mailbox. It was stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with all the aforesaid papers and ads.
There was a package under the mess that I’d ordered, a gift for a friend, that was wedged in there. I spent ten minutes trying to maneuver the thing so it would be released from its little metal prison.
Not wanting to wait hours till the postperson came back, I gave up and called my daughter down the street to please send one of her strong kids to help me.
Teagan came to my rescue; it took his strength and time to get the package out of its confines. The box was squashed, the corners wrinkled, and I feared the gift inside would reflect its mangled condition.
It actually didn’t look as poorly as I dreaded.
I find myself too often stuck in situations that hem me in, where I can’t figure a way out–when I know I’ve made a poor decision, haven’t acted appropriately, or have hurt someone else with what I’ve said or done. Social media makes it easy to become wedged in; a comment made without thought, agreeing only partially with what’s been said but appearing to be all in are times when we back ourselves into a corner.
Israel had made some very poor choices; as a nation, they’d been protected and provided for by God but had begun to take His blessings for granted. They were being impacted by the countries around them and had turned to idol worship. In the midst of their messed-up priorities, they were taken into captivity.
God, in His love, told them He would save them.
“But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
God had once delivered His people from Egypt, but what He was telling them now was that, in spite of how they’d walked away from Him, He would do amazing things that had never been done before. He would restore them to their land and His blessings. The wasteland of their lives would be irrigated by His love.
When we mess up and find ourselves stuck in awkward, uncomfortable places, embarrassment, shame, and guilt can often keep us from moving forward.
God’s love covers our messes, pain, and confusion with a peace that’s greater than we can understand. Our stuck places don’t have to be our undoing.
They can open our hearts to hope.
Our failures and frustrations don’t have to define, limit, or mire us in personal cement.
God offers forgiveness and acceptance.