I messed up again. Can you believe it? I fell flat on my face. Yet again. I have been having trouble sleeping, and I woke up way too tired only to discover that paralyzed Mercy had taken off her diaper and made a real stink of things. Boom. I lost my temper.
My temper, the one I keep thinking, hoping, and foolishly presuming, is permanently gone, erupted. Just like that. I slammed her diaper against the floor, slam, slam, slam, like a two year old. I whisked her blanket away since she’d leaked onto it, threw it out the window, poured cleaner on the floor in anger, made sure she knew in my tone and actions just how angry I was, and simultaneously remembered the article I had written only hours before about having mercy. Mercy?
Yeah, go figure. No mercy for Mercy. I went to the computer, sat down, tried to write, at 3:30 am mind you, and unsuccessfully to boot, and stomped off to bed. Sleep didn’t come, of course, but conviction did – the conviction once again that I had fallen flat on my face. My excuse? Extreme fatigue. Not. Extremely tired? Yes. But a viable excuse? Of course not.
God equips me to act right 24-7, tired or not. But just like so many times before, I had chosen, and fallen, the way of the flesh and fallen flat on my face – so to speak anyway. The question, however, was not just how far I fell, or why I fell, or how could I fall yet again, but where I landed when I fell.
I have come to realize that are two kinds of falling flat on my face. First, as I have done more often than not, I can fall flat on my face – right on the sidewalk, ouch, on the pavement, oh no, on the ground, oh it hurts, on rough terrain, oh not again, or just about anywhere, anytime, with my face flattened to the ground. Dirty, bloody knees, scrapes, cuts, bruises, and sores, hurt pride, bruised ego, defiant attitude, embarrassed spirit, you know the deal. Just like a kid crying for mommy. Help me, help me, help me up. Whine. Sniff. Snot. And full fireworks display – of total humiliation, self-disgust, and DON’T YOU DARE say “I told you so.” Shut up, Satan, Be quiet, flesh. Don’t point it out to me, you big bozo. That, with endless experience to which I could spend the rest of my life attesting, is the first kind of falling on my face.
Some would say I am not well versed enough, still too much of a novice, to say very much at all about the other kind of falling flat on my face when I mess up. But, alas, by the grace of God, and His grace and mercy alone, I have just enough experience now to be able to have something to say about version number two of falling flat on my face. In a nutshell? When I mess up, I can fall flat on my face and reap the rewards of hurting like hell. No pun intended. Or, I can fall flat on my face when I make a gigantic, or even a small, boo boo, and fall on my face before the Lord.
Seriously? Yep. Absolutely. Definitively. Definitely (I always did have trouble spelling that word, but tonight as I type it came naturally, go figure), yes. Let me give you an example. A what-could-have-been-a-very-stinky answer. But fortunately, or should I say alas, I had given Mercy a new diaper and cleaned up her diaper by the time I marched off to bed to TRY to sleep once again. It was then, as I snuggled deep under the covers to get warm (good old AC doing its thing again), that I realized I hadn’t just fallen flat on my face like all the zillion of times before.
I had fallen on holy ground. His ground. God’s ground. Solid ground. Solid as Jesus-is-the-rock ground. This was not a ground that dealt a worthless punch to my ego that resulted in purposeless, meaningless, but relentless-just-the-same condemnation. This was Jesus-is-the-way-the-Truth-and-the-life ground. When I peered, and I mean peered and barely looked up, I did not get a kick in the face from a you’re-going-to-hell-you-idiot, in-your-face god, or Satan, or piece and parcel of my own flesh.
I got this reminder in my heart. (1Jn 1:9 KJV) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I was on holy ground, sure enough. Mercy ground. And, though anyone or anything would have had grounds to punish me for what I had done, to hold a pitchfork of condemnation and shame before my face like a burning coal threatening to scold or scald me, this was not the case. Anything or anything were not what stood before the position I have found myself in countless times.
What stood before me was the Lord God almighty – with an invitation. He beckoned with His hand. He beckoned with His heart. He beckoned with His Word. “Come to my throne of grace,” it was as though He said. But He did not need to say it. His Word already does, and I’ve studied it enough to know that as a believer and follower in and of Jesus the Christ, the invitation came with an RSVP.
Love? Grace? Mercy? The Lord Himself stood before me, as He stands before the world even now, with a special offer that nobody else in the world has the ability to make. Because Jesus His Son came to earth in the flesh, took your sin and my sin upon Himself, died on the cross and rose again to pay the penalty for the world’s sins, the Savior of the world extends this invitation.
Mat 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Imagine. There I was on my face, fallen. And here is the world, today, fallen. Fallen. So utterly fallen, with only one end in sight. Eternal damnation. Forever in hell because sin’s price is always the same. Death and hell without a Savior to pay the penalty. But Jesus paid the penalty, and the offer He extended to me tonight, and extends to the world, is for me, and for us, to receive His grace and mercy.
I became saved, and given eternal life, when I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart the truth about Jesus. But this was merely the beginning. The Bible calls us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The sanctification process is lifelong, and tonight, dirty diaper and all, I received an obvious reminder that life with Jesus is a journey – and confession of sins is not a one-time process. I must keep coming confessing, and receiving the Lord’s mercy.
Tonight, I did not fall flat on my face and go back to sleep with guilt and shame and remorse and all of that junk. Tonight, as I returned to the computer to write what I believe God has laid on my heart, I was reminded that I have the choice daily, every day and hour and second and breath in fact, to fall on my face before the Lord God almighty, to confess my wrongdoing, and to receive more of the grace and mercy He offers me. His love never fails, His mercy never ends, and His grace has a name and a face. Jesus.
Excuse me a minute. Sorry for the interruption. I had to get up from the computer and walk away. And fall down, in fact. Before the Lord. I just poured out my heart to the Lord, I confessed my sin, and I heard Him tell me to stand up again. It was then I knew, for the umpteenth time, that the Lord loves me so much He does not want me to remain in the messes I make. He wants to throw away my dirty diapers and teach me to walk in His love, to rest in His Presence, and to receive, and to give, His love and His mercy to all the world around me.
Almighty God, thank you for the holy ground I walk upon. Thank you for the Rock, Jesus. Thank you for lifting me up when I have fallen. Thank you for your mercy, your grace, your love. Most importantly of all, thank you, Lord, for you. I love you forever, dear Father. Amen.
Scripture references were left out because at 4:37 am as I wrap up this article I am quite tired. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the references. Or, better yet, open up God’s Word and dive in…………….Bless you.