Don’t Cry Over a Broken Vase
Here’s the truth …
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV).
One of my favorite Brady Bunch episodes is where the boys are playing ball in the house and knock over their mother’s precious vase. They try to glue it back together, but it doesn’t work out in their favor to keep their mother from eventually finding out. And poor Peter has nightmares about it, reliving the basketball rolling down the steps and hitting the vase over and over and over again. That was what came to mind when I thought of how we rehash our sins, over and over and over again, too.
I was with a friend of mine recently, talking about this very subject over coffee. Yes, it was a very lighthearted conversation! I shared with her that your sins, no matter how great, should never make you feel like you’ve lost the love from our Heavenly Father, because all of our sins, past and future, have been forgiven thanks to Jesus who died to take them on for us. This is easier said than done, though. So because I could be vulnerable with this particular friend, I was able to share a time when I thought I had, indeed, lost the love from God, because my sin just went too far.
My husband applied for quite a prestigious job that, although he was quite meant to do, would be difficult to get. He felt prompted by God to apply for it, so he went through all of the preparation for it. He researched possible interview questions, completed the 30-page application, called all sorts of people who could serve as references for him, and consulted a team of prayer warriors to help make the impossible happen. He sought advice from those who have gone before him and succeeded at getting a job of this nature and ignored those who tried to dissuade him due to his lack of political connections. All of this occurred over a period of six months from start to finish. We prayed in earnest that God would make him successful in interview after interview. Many of the questions that were asked of him were the very ones that God had made available to him during his preparation process over the months. We were thrilled! He made it to the top three and had been able to get an audience with the primary decision maker! Surely, God had made the impossible possible!
Well, as you probably figured out by now, despite success after success over six long months, my husband did not get the job after all. I was devastated for him. I knew that he would feel so let down, especially because he felt like God was the one who prompted him to apply in the first place. I was also devastated for our family. The job would have brought with it a new life for us. I shouted out angrily at God, told Him exactly what I thought of His prompting, and made it clear that I didn’t think He knew at all what He was doing. I was rude, demanding, and impatient with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And I stayed in a state of fleeing from God for what seemed like a long time. It was awful.
And then the grief set in, not for the lost job but for the separation I was feeling from my Father that I had caused. I had pushed Him away, thinking that my will for our lives was much better than His perfect one. Looking back on it, it seems like it should be the worst possible sin a Christian could commit, and Satan reminds me regularly that I dared to question God and should be repeatedly condemned for it. Sometimes, I admit, it works. I feel so guilty and ashamed when I allow myself to think about it too much.
That’s when I am reminded of the best solution to shame that I have ever been able to find. God’s Word tells us that we need to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV). Simply put, we need to remind ourselves that God loves us, because that’s the truth: “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9-10 NLT).
God did all of this before I even loved Him. My lack of love for Him during my temper tantrum can be akin to when my child runs upstairs, slams the door to her room, pouts, and rolls her eyes at the very thought of my authority. Did I love her before she did this? Do I still love her even after she does this? Absolutely. And it’s because I love her that I denied her what she was asking for in the first place. I know better about some things than she does, so my answer is out of love and protection for her. So was God’s love for us in denying us that job. He sees what we simply cannot see.
We need to take anything contrary to thoughts of love from our Father and set them free. They are not the truth. And then, we need to replace those thoughts with what we know to be true. I replaced them with gratitude. I started looking around at what we had. A healthy family. Lots of laughter. A beautiful home. A full closet. But the only thing missing for me was my strong relationship with God. That is what I realized I wanted more than any job or “new life” such a job could have provided.
I got on my hands and knees and repented. And God, in His mercy, met me there. He understood. I’m not Jesus. I don’t accept brokenness with as much grace as He did. But even Jesus asked the question of God as He was hanging on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV). And David asked the very same question in Psalm 22:1, yet he has been described several times as a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
So if you have ever shouted angrily at God or committed some other very awful sin, ask for God’s forgiveness and replace the shame with His love. It is there for the asking. If you don’t, you will keep reviewing it over and over and over again, like the basketball hitting the vase. Just as Peter learned when he came clean about breaking the vase that his mother would forgive him, our Heavenly Father forgave me. The truth set us both free. It will set you free, too!
… and that’s the truth as I know it!