And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
Last week’s post on the woman caught in the act of adultery is a reminder to us that God truly has the final say, that no matter how hopeless a situation seems, God is able to turn things around and provide an unexpected and hope-filled end to our story.
This week I am not ready to move on to another character or story. I am choosing to stick with the same one. As highlighted last week, no one was able to throw a stone at the woman unless Jesus allowed it – and He did not. They did not have the final say on her sin ... He did. He chose to prevent those stones from coming her way and give her another chance. He chose to give her story a different ending. He does the same for us.
He didn’t just give her another chance, showing the importance of mercy, He extended forgiveness to her by saying, “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11). But He still didn’t stop there. He added: “...go and sin no more” (v.11). To me, that was the cue to her new beginning. He had extended to her mercy, hope, deliverance, salvation. Now He expected her to actually live a new and different life.
At this point I have to say it: when God steps into our situation He doesn’t just cover us and protect us, He stands ready to give us something new – if only we will receive it. The Bible doesn’t tell us the woman’s response. As far as I am aware there is no follow up to her story after this incident took place. In short, we don’t know for sure if she really started living a new life free from sin or if she went back to her old lifestyle. What we do know is that Jesus offered her the opportunity to live a new life free from sin. At this point, He wanted to write her a new story.
The nice thing with God is that He can re-write our story at any time. It doesn’t matter how bad things look, how hopeless, God has the ability to create something new in the middle of our messed-up story. This woman’s story should have ended with her punishment of death, but Jesus decided otherwise. He chose to take her just as she was and create something new. No matter how things may look for you, the nice thing is, God knows exactly how to pick us up at the hopeless point we are at and start doing a new thing. We don’t even have to have all the broken pieces back in place, He will take everything, all the broken fragments, all the shame, all the hopelessness – everything – and use it all to create something new. So, when you think it’s the end, guess what, only God knows how to take what looks like the end and make it into a new beginning.
I am reminded of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It looked like the end for Jesus. His disciples were discouraged, they felt helpless, totally unable to stop the inevitable. It seemed as if their beloved Hope was gone. It just didn’t make sense. If He was the promised Messiah, how could He die? What in the world was God really doing? It looked like the end, it looked like irreversible defeat, but was it really? As we know, it wasn’t. God had a bigger plan. God also likes to do things in a way that makes absolutely no sense to us. So many times, what looks like the end, what looks like defeat, is in reality the birth of something new, something better.
It can be so hard to "see" how good can possibly come out of a bad situation. When we are going through, our sight tends to be so limited. It’s hard to see far ahead when our focus is fixed on what is right in front of us and what’s in front of us seems to scream, “It’s over!” “Give up!” “There’s no hope!” But, can I challenge us to look not with natural eyes but with eyes of faith beyond what’s in front of us. Remember the word God has given you. Remember what He has done before and if He did it before, He will do it again. God always guides us along those difficult paths. We usually don’t recognize it until afterwards, but . . . He. Is. Right. There. His promise to never leave us nor forsake us is more than true during those trying times. And, He sticks with us, not just to cover and protect us, but to help write our new story, to cause everything both good and bad, to work out together for our good (Romans 8:28).
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I invite you to do so now. We all face those times when we feel as if it is the end, when we feel hopeless and helpless, when we just want to give up. But our Saviour, Jesus, always has something new and better for us. He is always right there to give us fresh hope when our hope is gone.
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.