So my dog Jack loves to drink water. But on occasion he assaults his water bucket, dumping out the water so he can slap the empty bucket with his paws and bark at it. I don’t understand why he does this, other than the fact that he’s bored. It is tiresome to say the least, and it is loud.
I scold him, tell him not to spill his water, and tell him not to bark at his bucket. I wedge the bucket between his kennel and the fence so it’s hard to move. I buy a bucket that doesn’t tip so easily. I try basically anything to keep him from spilling his bucket over. Nothing works – his desire to turn over his water bucket is unabated.
But I got to thinking – I behave much the same way with God. Many times I see something that is good for me and healthy and given by God, yet I turn it over and waste it because of my search for entertainment, or comfort, or something else. Even though God in his mercy ‘refills my bucket’ as it were, and makes it harder for me to sin, I am unabated in my pursuit of my own wants and desires.
This is sin. It is wicked, it is ugly, and it is mine.
Like I do (imperfectly) with Jack, God perfectly disciplines me by letting me see the ends of my sin. He allows me to experience the shame and awareness of rebellion against him. He also provides for me again and again – every time I spill my bucket he is right there with another one, making sure that I don’t run out of water. He provides for me even though I sin against him, because his love is much greater than my sin. His provision far outlasts my waste of it. I cannot use up his grace or outlast his patience with me. His love is expressed in that while I am a constant sinner, he is a constant provider.
And this is exactly what we see with the cross – while we were yet sinners, and while we were in rebellion against him, God sent his Son to live a perfect life, be murdered on one of the most excruciating forms of execution ever invented. He died so that our sins would be paid for and our righteousness would be a perfect gift. But the joy is that Jesus didn’t stay dead! He lives! He intercedes for us, and he sent the Holy Spirit to comfort, teach, rebuke, and convict us of our sin! So we need not be despairing – our hope lies in Christ’s perfect obedience, and in God’s great mercy to allow us sinners to draw near to him.
God, in his perfect sovereign will, gives us much more than we can ever spill out onto the ground or bark at. His mercy is new every morning, and his love for us is unfading if he has given us the grace of having faith in Christ.
I pray that I rest in that promise today, and you as well.