The Sacrifices of God
Open Your Bible
Lamentations 2:12-22, Psalm 51:15-19
BY Guest Writer
Among the many traits the girls in my family have acquired from their mama (enormously wild hair and enthusiastic thesaurus-reading not to be forgotten), is that fact that we possess some pretty sensitive souls. I mean, we feel all the feels. My mom likes to tell the story of how, at age four, I completely lost it because my dad gave me a goodnight kiss and did not equally place both his lips on top of both of my lips. I’m still reeling from the rejection. What that means in my current household, though, is that during any watching of children’s movies, insurance advertisements or yes, even game shows, my finger must be constantly poised on the remote control so I can power “off” when the offending purple minion, car accident dramatization or embarrassingly wrong Final Jeopardy response comes on screen.
Admittedly, when I read through these very dark, very sorrowful passages in Lamentations, I wish I had my finger on the remote control and could power “off.” The destruction, the groans, the torment—it is unbearable. And the author, once a matter-of-fact eyewitness, is tortured, his heart pouring out on the ground because of the devastation God has inflicted against a sinful people (Lamentations 2:11). In other words, he gives new meaning to “feeling all the feels.”
But isn’t that the point? How can we truly experience real repentance without sorrow?
God wants nothing less than broken spirits and contrite hearts when we come before Him for His forgiveness. Any ritualistic sacrifices, any well-crafted prayers, any flowery pleas for mercy—without being genuinely crushed by the true tragedy of our sins—are utterly and totally meaningless. God wants only your authentic expressions of repentance, no thesauruses required.
God doesn’t want us to just be “bummed out” by the consequences of sin in our lives and our world, He wants us to know what true, godly sorrow looks and feels like. He wants our hearts to break like His, and for us to gather up those messy hearts and bring them before Him laid bare, without pretentiously tying them up in a neat little package.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart…” (Psalm 51:17). Nothing more. Nothing less.
My remote-control strategy of parenting has backfired into sleepless nights a time or two, with those last-seen images burning into little minds and re-entering them, unfortunately, right at bedtime. I quickly learned that I had to, somehow, help my children get through the hard parts of the narrative if they were ever going to see and appreciate how the story ends. I don’t want them to miss it.
We have a Father who loves each and every one of His children enough to break our hearts, so that our own story never actually ends at all, but lives on with Him for Eternity. Even though it costs us the anguish of standing in the midst of the ugly destruction of our own sin, it cost our God far more—the sacrifice of His own precious Son. He will bring beauty from the ashes—and more than anything, He doesn’t want you to miss it.
Sarah Matheny is an ever-growing, ever-changing gal, laughing and living in the Pacific Northwest. One-time attorney, food blogger, and author, all-the-time wife and mom to three wild-eyed, spunky girly girls, she’s passionate about her family, her friends and growing in her walk with Christ as He dishes up an always unpredictable, but totally delicious life.