By Tom Albrecht
In Lamentations 1:8-9 the scripture looks at Jerusalem: "Because Jerusalem has sinned greatly, she has become vile. All who once honored her now despise her because they have seen her nakedness; She groans and turns away, her uncleanness is in her skirts, She did not consider her destiny, therefore her collapse was awesome."
Let's think about that last line: "She did not consider her destiny, therefore her collapse was awesome."
This description of utter desolation and hopelessness is the result of the people of God forgetting the purpose for which God created them. According to Ephesians 2:10:
"We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before prepared that we should walk in them."
There is nothing so tragic as looking back on our failures and concluding that there is no future for us because of our past. When the scriptures talk of Jerusalem groaning and turning back, it describes what many believers feel when they have given up possibilities for reaching their potential.
The world is all ready to dismiss people because of the revelation of some failure...a broken marriage, a bankruptcy, or sinful indiscretion. How many have wept and mourned over a failure at some point in their past, unable to shake the personal shame and judgment they feel or the sense judgment from people around them.
When you can't forgive yourself because your own heart or conscience condemns you, you must remember what I John 3:20-22 says:
"...if our heart condemn us, remember God is greater than our heart, and knows all about us. If our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence before God. And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
If instead of turning away from God, we receive his forgiveness in Christ, and return to the grace that empowers us to walk into what he has destined for us, we rejoice in hope for the glory of God!
The Apostle Paul states this simple equation for moving from total collapse and hopelessness. It is found in Philippians 3:12-14:
Even though we are not perfect, in our pursuit of godliness, I am all in for Christ who has taken hold of me. This one thing I do, forgetting the past, reaching forth to those things which are before me, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
In Christ, our past is covered and forgiven through the blood of His cross. I stretch forward to my future, and press, pursue with all my heart for the goal and the prize which is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Don't let your past create a tragic collapse of your life when God has destined you for his glory and your fulfillment.
At CCR and Front Porch, we welcome all people, from any past into our ministry. We'd love to have you join us in volunteering to the homeless in Loveland or to visit during one of our weekend services.