Friday, April 22, 2016

Malachi 3:7 -- On Returning to God

"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?"
Malachi 3:7

I think when God asks us to return to him we ask this sometimes, with different emphasis, depending on the situation:

Wherein shall we RETURN is when we're prideful enough to think that we haven't really gone astray, and that other people are way worse, and where we're currently at is good enough, and should qualify us for heaven... because after all, look at that person and that other person.  I'm way the *crap* better than that. :)

Wherein shall WE return comes when we're selfish enough to think that God needs to cater to and come to us, rather than us returning to him.  He needs to change HIS rules, because of course he should adjust to our desires, and our needs, rather than us adjusting our desires or learning to change our hearts.

We often feel isolated and unloved in our lives... feel a distance from God, and wish that we could bridge it and know how to get back that happiness and intense spirituality that we have felt before.  This is how.  What we should be asking here is WHEREIN shall we return, in a completely sincere way.  We can look to God to help us know *how* to come back to him, how to feel that goodness in our lives all the time and not have to lose it.  And he *will* teach us, if we seek it... but that's the whole idea here.  When there is a distance, it is WE that have walked away, never God.  He always stays who he is, and is always our home.  We wander away, but all we have to do to feel all of that again, to belong, to be loved and accepted, to have that peace in our lives... is walk back to him.

It's sometimes really tough... not saying it isn't.  It can take some intense emotional turmoil to get over some of the walls that we've built up inside.  It can make us feel pretty awful about ourselves when we realize how far from perfect we are, and it can tempt us to despair.  It can cause an awful lot of sadness when we realize that we've set something up in our lives to be more important than God, and that we have to change our priorities and maybe even lose that thing or that person... which by definition is going to tear our hearts to shreds.  But that is what the gospel takes: a broken heart; a contrite spirit.

As we learn about this life and about ourselves and about the gospel, we're going to face tough things.  And sometimes we're going to wander away from God, and feel abandoned. :)  Today, let's remember that we never have to be abandoned.  We can choose otherwise... all we have to do is turn around, and do the work it takes to return to God.  And he will return to us, always, and be with us in our lives, helping us with everything.

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