Like a Fading Tan

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She hadn’t noticed it as it faded little by little, but one day she realized her legs weren’t the glowing tan they had been just a few weeks ago. They even looked a bit yellowish. Yck. When did that happen?

True, her circumstances had changed the last few weeks, keeping her mostly inside instead of enjoying the outside as much as she usually did. But now circumstances were changing again and her thoughts returned to what she had once had – a beautiful, burn-free tan from her shorts hem to her toes. And she knew the only way to get it back was to get out in the sun again. Since she was no longer near the beach that she had frequently enjoyed, she had to consider her options.  Sit out back in a fenceless yard, open to the observation of the construction workers and neighbors around her or travel an hour to find a beach. Neither option was ideal. But then she discovered a wide walking path close enough that she could use. Now all she had to do was overcome her inertial and actually get outside and start walking. And hope the weather cooperated.

As she thought about it, she thought how much her relationship with God was like her tan. As long as she stayed in the Son, her relationship was deep and glowing. But as she got busy with other things, little by little she would lose that vibrancy without noticing until one day it would dawn on her that her relationship was not like it was. And then she would have to work to overcome her spiritual inertial as well as outside obstacles to get back into the Son.

Which left her wondering… why did she keep leaving in the first place?

OK, Lord, Let Me Have It!

She knew she deserved it. But she wasn’t looking forward to it. “How badly does God yell at someone anyway? As bad as my dad?” she wondered.  “God could get pretty rough with the Israelites.”

She thought back to what she had done earlier that day. God had told her not to share a particular book with a friend. But she thought she knew better and argued with Him. “She needs this message, Lord! I AM going to share it with her today at church!” But her friend hadn’t been at church. So God had won. And she felt really bad. Not just a sad or disappointed bad, but a distance-from-God kind of bad.

He was angry at her, she was sure. She could feel something unpleasant in her spirit. Probably Him scolding me, she thought. She tried to ignore it but it wouldn’t go away. In fact, it grew stronger as the day progressed until she couldn’t avoid dealing with it anymore.

She took a deep breath, and prayed, “OK, Lord, I’m ready to listen. Let me have it.”

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His answer was not what she expected. Instead of the angry voice she was expecting, He spoke in a gentle whisper.

“I won’t ever ‘let you have it’. I will never scold you. But I will let you know when you’ve strayed. The feeling you got today was caused by your rebellion – not My scolding. I was not withholding My love. However, our connection was broken when you closed your ears. You didn’t want to listen so I had to get stronger until you couldn’t ignore Me any longer. I have promised to help you stay on the path, to not stray. So when you do, I will let you know. Others who have not given their lives so completely to Me – who have not given Me the permission you have – can sometimes wander a while before calling on Me. But you have given yourself to Me completely, and in return, I made you a promise. Do you want Me to change this?”

She was amazed at the sense of security that filled her with His words. She belonged to Him and He would always be there looking out for her. Even when she was the one to cause the problem.

“No, Lord. I don’t. I am completely Yours, whatever the cost. Thank You for Your promise, and for Your tight rein on me. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”