“Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.”
Psalm 79:8, NIV
When people turn their back on God and walk away from His plan and purposes for their lives, there are consequences. Not because God is vindictive, but because He loves us so much that He wants us to be reminded of who He is and of how much He loves us. Sometimes, when people have deliberately and consistently run away from the place of God’s blessing, they have to come to a place of being ‘very low’ in order for them to come to their spiritual senses and realise what they have done.
In telling the story of the prodigal son, Jesus was using this very human story to teach profound spiritual principles. He was telling the people both what the consequences are of running away from God and then, in stark contrast to how the Pharisees would be thinking, how the Father scans the horizon to lavish love on the son who was lost – not to reward his homecoming with punishment. Being brought very low can sometimes be the essential first step in a long journey of return, forgiveness and eventual restoration to the place of sonship.
This is the heart of God – if we persist in being wilfully rebellious, He does not protect us from being brought very low, because He knows that unless someone is brought face to face with the reality of where they are and what they are doing, they will never turn their hearts once again back to their Father. Sometimes, unless we face how much we have fallen in time, we will eliminate ourselves from the blessings of fellowship with the Father in eternity.
Over the years I have spent thousands of hours with people who have been brought low and have faced the brick wall caused by their own behaviour – but what joy when they have realised that this is the place where they have really met with the heart and character of a loving God, often for the first time. The Father has enveloped them in his loving arms and laid out a feast of love to celebrate their return.
It’s hard, sometimes, to watch people on a path that will inevitably lead to them being brought low. It can be easy to think that this is always the enemy’s doing, and no doubt he rejoices when people hit rock bottom. But man’s desperation is God’s opportunity and whenever that happens we need to be there to help people rediscover how much Father God loves them – that is the heart of healing. No-one is beyond the love and the mercy of God.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that even when people are brought very low, Your love for them never fails. And that You are always scanning the horizon looking for the moment when people turn again to You. Help us, Lord, always to be agents of Your love and mercy to show them Your heart in their time of need. In Jesus’s name. Amen.