God recently gave me a crystal-clear glimpse into that face of compassion while I was speaking at a women’s retreat. As ladies from all walks of life worshiped together, the lyrics of a particular song struck a slight chord of regret in my heart. As we sang about longing to sit at the feet of Jesus and share intimate moments with Him, guilt from my past reared its ugly head as if it still had a place in my life. (It doesn’t since Jesus removed that guilt on the cross long ago, but it still likes to pretend on occasion.)
I whispered to God, “I’m so sorry for the way I’ve run to other men in the past, seeking to share intimate moments with them for satisfaction rather than running to you, Lord!”
A mental vision came to me of a lost little girl in a grocery store, searching for the security of her mom or dad, mistaking a stranger’s leg as that of her parent’s, wrapping her arms around tightly then looking up and realizing her error in judgment, feeling mortified, scared, and more lost than ever and then recognizing her real parent down the aisle and running at break-neck speed into their welcoming arms!
I sensed God asking, “Remember when your daughter made that very mistake?” Indeed, I remembered it happening with both of my children on more than one occasion. “And what did you feel toward your child in that moment, Shannon? Anger? Betrayal? Disgust?” God asked. “Of course not. Neither do I feel angry or betrayed or disgusted by your mistakes. You delight me greatly by recognizing and running to me now, and that’s all that matters to me,” our Heavenly Father lovingly explained.
We often have fantasies about and run toward many other sources for the comfort and solace that only God can give. And we still end up lost and longing for more than is possible on this side of heaven. But isn’t it wonderful to know that regardless of what we’ve wrapped our arms around in the past, God presently and will forevermore welcome us with open arms! Indeed, He alone can fully satisfy the desperate desires of the human heart. Even mine. And yes, even yours!
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Excerpted from The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.