Romans, Day 21

Scripture: Romans 11:1-24

Observation: Paul is speaking to the Romans and is explaining how merciful God was to the Israelites, his chosen people. When they turned their backs on Him, he turned around and offered salvation to the Gentiles. He wanted his people to be jealous and claim their salvation for themselves. He explained that when you stray from him, you are no longer counted as a part of his family, but the moment you choose to return to Him, you are welcomed back in.

Application: Hi everyone! I’m Madison and I’m lucky enough to consider Abby a friend of mine. She invited me to write a bit and share my heart with you all.

((Editors Note: I'm so excited to have Madison hanging out with us today! She has crazy amounts of wisdom and a heart of gold. She's also a brilliant writer. Buckle up, friends; today's post is incredible.))

When she first asked me, I was a whole lot of scared. I love to write, but I typically just write for me. Writing for you all and following Abby’s consistently amazing posts was (read: is) intimidating.

But more than that, I’ve been having a real hard time with God lately.

I’ve been angry, I’ve been bitter, I’ve been stubborn and I’ve been blaming everything on God. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I stub my toe? God hates me. There’s traffic? God is definitely out to get me, especially when I’m on my way to a meeting at church. That’s just downright personal.  

And now Abby wants me to write about God and how great he is? Figures. I told you God hates me.

So, I did the only logical thing...I procrastinated. Hard.

I read this passage and then this verse spoke right to my heart. Look at verse 11:

“They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles.”

To give you some background on the story, the “they” that Paul mentions is the people of Israel, God’s chosen people. They turned away from God, and their hearts were hardened. So, to make this short and sweet...God’s chosen people turned their backs on Him and, in turn, he decided to make salvation available to the rest of the world. 

The passage goes on to say this in verse 22 and 23:

“Notice how God is both kind and severe. he is severe towards those who disobeyed, but kind if you continue to trust in his kindness...and if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted [into the tree] again.”

I think what Paul is saying is that we have a harsh but incredibly loving God. No matter what you do, when you turn your heart back to him, you’re welcomed back into his arms.

Read that again: No matter what you do, when you turn your heart back to him, you’re welcomed back into his arms.

Let that sink in for a minute while I take you on a little side trip. Warning: major switch of subject coming up. 

I have a tattoo and I love it. It says “peace that passes all understanding” and it’s on my back. And whenever I come up with a good tattoo idea, I don’t want to share it with anyone. It’s too personal and I also don’t want to see a thousand people walking around with my tattoo idea. However, you all seem pretty trustworthy, so consider this our little secret.

But first, before I spill my next tattoo idea, let’s check out another story found in Mark 5: 35-43: Jesus was with the leader of the synagogue when he received word that his sick daughter had died. Jesus told him not to be afraid and immediately went to his house where they went to where the dead little girl was lying. He took her hand and said to her, “talitha koum,” which means “little girl, get up.” And the little girl stood up and walked around! Go read the story for yourself; it’s pretty great.

In case you hadn’t figured it out, I want my next tattoo to say “talitha koum.”

Why do I bring this up? Because, friends, this was my talitha koum moment.

When I read about a God who had his heart broken by his chosen people, but immediately decided to offer the rest of the world salvation, I realized how stupid I’ve been. In my head, I heard something saying, “Little girl, get up!”

Stop living in fear.
Stop being so angry.
Stop shutting people out.
Stop shutting me out.  

Friends, I know that there have to be other people than just me who are having a faith crisis. And I have a feeling you and I might know each other. 

We might go to church together. We might tell everyone how #blessed we are and how we are “praying” for each other, but really we are hurting. 

So don’t give up.

I promise you, God is waiting there for you.

And he’s not going to be angry when you come back; he’s going to be so excited.

Because at the end of the day, he is our father, and our dad wants nothing more than to have all of his children back in his arms.

So, go out on a limb. Accept that invitation to write on someone else’s blog, even when you are scared senseless.

Because, that might be coming right from God. And he wants you home.

Prayer: Father, please be patient with me. I know I’ve made mistakes and that sometimes I don’t always believe the way I should. But, help me see your hand in my life.  Help me know that, with you, I’m going to find my peace. Fill me, breathe life into me again. Amen.