Getting Your Attention
“I was angry, good and angry, because of Israel’s sins. I struck him hard and turned away in anger, while he kept at his stubborn, willful ways. When I looked again and saw what he was doing, I decided to heal him, lead him, and comfort him.” Isaiah 57:17–18 (msg)
Lord, please help me grasp what you’re trying to teach me…and Jesus, please help me be a quick learner. How many times have I breathed that prayer? Countless, I think. I’m not too fond of pain, but I also know my hardheaded streak. As a result, I lean on Jesus’ mercy and trust that He won’t use any more drastic measures than necessary to get my attention.
Reading through much of the Old Testament, it seems God had to let His people learn their lessons the hard way, and oh my, those lessons often hurt terribly. However, as Isaiah 57:17–18 shows, God is so very merciful. He really does allow us to suffer for our wrongs only as much as necessary to get our attention and draw us back on track with Him.
Sometimes His discipline may feel unmerciful, but consider the alternatives. Imagine how we’d hurt—or how we’d hurt others—if we continued on a sinful path. It’s easy to forget, especially when temptation hits, just how serious sin is. Just one act of disobedience sent Jesus to a horrible death; that one disobedience was “only” taking a bite of forbidden fruit.
When Jesus lived on earth, He spoke often about turning from sin to follow Him. Even in our stubbornness He shows mercy, desiring above all to heal us rather than let us suffer the consequences of our wrong choices. (See Matthew 13:15 and Mark 3:5.) He is too compassionate to allow us to remain as is.
Sin always leads to pain, and obedience always leads to blessing—here or for eternity. Let Him get your attention, and spare yourself a world of hurt.
FAITH STEP: How has Jesus gotten your attention? Thank Him for knowing just what it takes to help you stay close to Him.
Written by Erin Keeley Marshall
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