A guest blog by Denise Stiegler Habicht
Our family was recently away for nine days at our annual family reunion. As usual, a fun time was had by all, and we were on our way home. With only one stop for gas and lunch, before I knew it, we were only five minutes from home. I was thanking the Lord for His graciousness regarding the trip. Nine hours in the car with one bathroom break can be sheer misery! When we arrived home, we all jumped out of the car and began the process of unloading. I unloaded my things from the back seat where I was sitting, and then I headed to the trunk to get my suitcase, some packages and other miscellaneous items. I looked in horror at what I saw. There was blue dye spilled over numerous things that had been packed in the trunk. Blue liquid dye . . . are you kidding me?
I went into “solve the problem” mode and started identifying the things that had dye on them and quickly determined what I might do to get the dye off without messing up other things. All the while that I was working, I had that frustrating feeling of trying to determine how and why this happened and what I might have done to prevent such a disaster. I was working fast and furiously, trying to get stains out, thinking I was close to being done only to discover more dye. (REALLY . . . more dye . . . NOOOOOO!!)
Later, I thought about how the dye reminds me of the stain of sin. We try to remove it; in fact, we work really hard, and we think we are close to the finish line (of dealing with our sin) only to discover more stain. Sin . . there is no end to the stain this side of heaven, and we can have an overwhelming feeling of defeat. Although I had frustrating feelings that accompanied the blue dye episode, I was again thankful to the Lord that the situation wasn’t worse. It could have been WAY worse than it was. But I was still emotionally exhausted after the clean up process.
I was standing on the driveway, and I felt compelled to lie down right then and there. Part of me just wanted to put my head down in shame (a bit of a pity party), and part of me just wanted to feel the warmth of the pavement (much like a hug). In our old house, my kids used to lie down on the small rug we had in front of the fridge because it was warm, and it felt cozy. I think this was kind of the idea in my mind. As soon as I hit the pavement, it was as though the Lord said to me, “There you go, Denise, this is exactly where I want you . . . on your face before Me. I want you to look at and to Me. This is the life I want you to live. Not racing around, worrying about all your messes and how you have to clean them up. Not trying to hide and cover up the stain of your sin. Live on your face before Me and enjoy the warmth of my love and goodness—not just when things go right but also when they are a mess.”
This experience had a profound impact on me. The Lord has led me to physically fall on my face every morning. Why haven’t I done this before?
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. Ps. 103:8-12