never too late.

Maybe, as you storm out the front door of your childhood home, bitter and hurt, you humbly ask God's forgiveness for your part in the fight and tell yourself that it's time to start improving your relationship with your family.  But the next time you visit home, you find yourself caught up in a cutting argument with your younger brother, and all bets are off.  There's no use asking God for forgiveness this time, you tell yourself.  The argument was your fault, after all.  

Maybe you find yourself waking up on the cold tile of a bathroom floor, unsure of whose home you're in or what happened in the past 18 hours.  Ashamed, you look at your pale face in the mirror, eyes squinting because the light causes your headache to worsen, and you beg God to forgive you for allowing alcohol consume you.  You promise yourself this will be the last time you wake up in an unknown bathroom, unable to remember the previous night.  But next weekend, you find yourself downing a third shot as your "friends" cheer you on, and you finally admit that the alcohol controls you.   

Maybe you tell yourself that this will be the last time you lie, cheat, steal, manipulate your way to the top.  Maybe you promise yourself that never again will you find yourself laying naked in bed next to a man (or woman) before saying your wedding vows.  Maybe you decide that today is the last day you will....fill in the blank.

But there’s also this, it’s not too late — God’s personal Message! — “Come back to me and really mean it!  Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!”  Change your life, not just your clothes.  Come back to God, your God.  And here’s why: God is kind and merciful.  He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe.
— from Joel 2 (MSG)

How many times will God forgive me of the same sin?  How many times will He welcome me back into His loving embrace after a season of rebellion and wrongdoing?  Will He continue to love me if time and again I act in unloving ways toward others?  Do I have the right to ask for forgiveness if I continue to fall into the same traps of the Enemy?  

On days when I feel like a complete mess, a disgrace, an utter failure - days like today - I wonder if it will be the day God finally gives up on me, finally allows my sinful desires to consume me, finally walks away and leaves me to reap the consequences of my actions.

If you're anything like me, you've wondered the same things.  

But our God is a God of kindness and mercy.  He is a patient God, full of extravagant love for me...for you!!  The moment you turn your gaze back to Him and ask Him to cleanse you of your sins, your slate is wiped clean.  

A thousand times I’ve failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
I’m caught in your grace.
— Hillsong United (From The Inside Out)

No matter how many times you've broken the promises you've made to yourself, He will still forgive you.

No matter how many times you've failed in the e x a c t same way, He will still forgive you.  

No matter how many times you've purposefully turned your back on Him, He will still forgive you.  

Certainly, His grace does not give us license to sin at will (see Romans 6:1-4), but it does allow us to make mistakes, to fail repeatedly, to stumble and fall time and again...

...and to still find love, forgiveness, and acceptance in Him.