Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 9:1-37, 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
The last thing you want after a long week away is a bad ride home from the airport. But that’s where I found myself last week, hailing an Uber ride from the arrivals entrance. A frequent traveler, I typically enjoy these modern-day “cabs.” The driver who came to pick me up late that night was kind and hospitable, hoisting my luggage into the trunk and respecting my lack of desire to make small talk. Like I said, it had been a long week, and I was grateful for the relative quiet.
My ride home from the airport should have been simple—one I could probably drive with my eyes closed. That’s why I noticed the two U-turns, the missed stop sign, the turnaround in a grocery store parking lot, and the driver who became increasingly silent. Maybe I should have spoken up sooner, but when I finally asked, “Where are we?” it was because I already knew the answer: we were lost. Very, very lost. The driver had missed the intended destination entirely.
The word “sin” comes from the idea of failure, “the act or state of missing the mark.” I confess that every time I sin, I am acting out of my humanity and turning my heart away from my Father. I turn away from the intended place He has created for me: living in His presence and in relationship with Him. In day-to-day life sin can become much more than just my actions; it can begin to feel more like my permanent residence.
Like the embarrassed apology my driver made when we finally made it home, returning to the reality of my sin always makes me feel ashamed. But in Nehemiah 9, we have an opportunity to reframe this together, watching as the children of Israel gather together to confess their sin. However, instead of being driven by guilt, they are empowered by celebration. Just days after the feast of the tabernacles, one of the most joyful parties they’d ever had, they paused to realign their hearts with God’s—not because they were hurt or afraid, but because they were thankful.
It is a grace that God “[acts] faithfully, while we have acted wickedly” (Nehemiah 9:33). It is a gift that He keeps covenants, even when we do not. At the intersection of our lack and His goodness, may we return to Him, remembering and cherishing what it is to be considered His. All promises are “yes” in the Savior who calls His wandering children home, again and again (2 Corinthians 1:20).