Day 2: Forget You, Dad (The Peace of God)
In an interview years ago, David Brinkley asked advice columnist Ann Landers what question she most frequently received from readers. Her answer: "What's wrong with me?"
What is wrong with us is that you and I were made to have a relationship with God, and our sin has separated us from God, and there is an emptiness that lives deep inside of us. The amazing news I have for all of us today is in Romans 5:8:
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Jesus paid the price for our sin and rebellion, and if we just ask Him for forgiveness, then we can have peace with God.
Bob Stromberg tells the story about a day when his son came home from school with a book catalog in his hand. He wanted a book about Killer Sharks, but it was so expensive that he didn't ask his dad for the money. He went right to the source where the real money is. He went to Grandma. He called her, and she agreed to get the book. After weeks of waiting, the book finally came, and it was beautiful. He couldn't wait to take it to show and tell the next day.
The following day, Bob was getting ready to head for the airport when his son came walking down the steps with his book. It was snowing outside, so Bob asked his son to make sure the book was covered up so it wouldn't get wet, but the little boy was so excited he didn't listen to his dad. He just kept putting his shoes on. He said, "I'm going to see if they will have a special show and tell time so I can show the book off to the whole class." Bob said, "That's great son, let's see if we can get the book in the backpack." The boy looked at his dad and said, "It will never fit."
Then the little boy said, "After show and tell; I am going to take the book out for recess." Bob said, "Listen, son. You can't take the book out for recess. It is snowing outside, and each snowflake is like a drop of rain. The snow will ruin that book."
The little boy looked at his dad and said, "It will be OK, dad." Bob said, "No, it won't be OK. That's an expensive book." He was in mid-sentence when the little boy screamed, "Dad, I can't do anything about the weather, OK?"
Bob said, "That's right, but you can do something about the book." Bob said, "Let's put the book in a baggie." The little boy couldn't imagine carrying a book in a baggie to school. He said, "No way." Bob said, "Then you're not taking the book to school." His son looked at his dad and said, "Then I'm not going to school." Bob said, "Then you are not keeping the book."
It was one of those rare moments when the parent has the perfect comeback. He looked dumbfounded, and then he said what was on his mind. He looked at his dad and said, "Dad, sometimes you are so stupid."
That was it. Bob looked at his son and said, "I'm late for my flight, but we will talk about this when I get home. Now go to school." The little boy stomped out the door and down the street with his fist at his side and his hat off of his head—an obvious sign of defiance.
Later that day, when Bob got to Minnesota, he grabbed a phone and called his house. His wife answered and said, "There's a young man who has been waiting by the phone to talk to you." The next voice Bob heard was his son's voice trying to choke back tears. He said, "Dad, I want to tell you how sorry I am for the way I acted and about what I said, and I'm just so sorry."
Bob said, "That's OK, son. We'll talk about it when I get home." The little boy said, "Dad, at recess today, I didn't even play with the other kids. You know the spot by the playground where you can look across the parking lot and see the edge of our driveway? I just stood right there, and I stood there for all the other recesses too."
Bob asked his son, "Why did you do that?" Through hard sobs, the little boy said, "Dad, I just kept looking at the driveway because I was sure you would come." Bob said, "But you knew I couldn't come, son." Now the little boy's voice was barely audible. He said, "I know, dad, but I just needed you so much to come. I'm so sorry. Please, can you forgive me?" Bob said, "Of course, son. I love you, and I forgive you."
Bob's heart was broken. For the first time, his son felt the pain of spiritual separation from his dad—a separation he had brought on himself. A separation only a father could restore. As Bob walked through the airport, tears ran down his cheeks. Tears not only for his son but also for himself.
Bob said, "How often have I felt the despair of separation from my Heavenly Father? Separation was imposed by my own behavior. How often have I stood just outside the celebration of life, carrying a burden of guilt, wondering if God could possibly forgive me? How often have I ached like my son, longing for the embrace of his dad? Could it be that God longs to hold me in His arms as much as I longed to hold my son?"
The answer is yes. Maybe there is no peace in your life right now because you have not repented of your sin and asked Jesus to come into your life. Maybe you have, but there is no peace in your life because you find yourself once again loving your sin more than you love your Savior. You feel guilt and remorse, but for whatever reason, you are holding onto that sin. It's time to come clean.
1. If you are a Christian, has there ever been a time in your life where you felt like there was a distance between you and God?
2. Why do you think that was?
3. Most of the time, when we feel like God is distant from us, it is because we are holding onto some sin that He wants us to repent of and get away from. Is there anything going on in your life that is not pleasing to God?
4. Look up the following verses.
Psalm 103:12 says, "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." God says you are never going to see those sins again. They are out of reach and out of sight. God forgives completely.
Jeremiah 31:34 says, "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." God doesn't forget anything. God chooses to forget your sin when you repent of your sin.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! God says, let's focus on the future. Look ahead. Don't cling to the past or dwell on what has happened. God gives you a new future.
Why don't you take whatever that is in your life and confess to God and ask Him to forgive you, and the peace of God will come back into your soul. Never forget, God is eager to forgive those who ask Him to forgive them.
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