Aug 07, 2009 by Nancy Buschart | 2 Comments
I’ve been thinking lately about sin. Yes, I know. Not a topic we like to ponder. But, stay with me for a moment.
My backyard is shaded by my neighbor’s giant cottonwood trees. There are five or six of them lining the fence we share and the leaves sing in the breeze, shade my yard, and need to be raked from my grass in the fall.
Two years ago during a devastating early fall snow, numbers of branches of these great cottonwoods broke from the weight of the snow on branches still bearing their autumn leaves. My heart broke as I heard the terrible snap and crack.
Since that time, I have done what I can to prune the broken and lifeless branches that extend over my side of the fence and my neighbors have long since cleared the dead branches that they can reach. And, since then, new growth has beautifully emerged and covered ugly gashes left by wind and snow.
Halfway up one tree, however, is a large, broken branch still hanging on with dead leaves that rustle, but no longer sing, in the breeze. The branch is too high for me or for my neighbors to prune. And so, it stays, mixed among the fully leafed, singing branches of the tree – a testimony to life without Jesus.
You see, this lifeless branch will not be removed without an expert. It requires an arborist who knows the nature of broken trees, who can climb to the heart of the break with the appropriate tools required to remove that which is dead enabling new life to grow in its place. Without the intervention of the arborist the branch will remain.
The dead branch is on the back side of the tree – the side facing my deck – so the lifeless branch in desperate need of the arborist may be hidden from my neighbor’s view. We all are so very gifted at hiding – hiding from one another the lifeless places within our souls, pretending that all is life-filled and well pruned. Try as we might to cover over these broken places within, they remain and have their affect on the health of our whole selves. We may hide our need from one another, but it is quite silly to try to hide from God.
The Arborist of our souls is present to us, knows our need, and awaits our call for mercy. He is the only one with the ‘tools’ proper to the task of removing what separates us from Himself and from the abundant life He desires for us.
Sometimes we may know about the broken places in our hearts, but don’t have the energy or inclination to call to the Arborist for healing. What we have now is “good enough.” The dead weight of this brokenness, however, is a great burden to carry and leaves us weary from the effort.
What can make me whole again? Nothin’ but the blood of Jesus.
What can wash away my sin? Nothin’ but the blood of Jesus.
I wish this was a one-time call. I wish that confession of need at my conversion was all that was required of me. But He knows that if this were the case, it would lead to my prideful boasting of my righteousness. Instead, like David, my sin is always before me (Ps 51) and, like the hymnist, I am “prone to wander, . . . prone to leave the God I love.” So, my confession of need is ever present to me. And, like the steadfast love of God, my confession of sin, my call for grace-filled forgiveness, is new every morning.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us (1Jo 1:9-10).
Do you, also, have lifeless places in your heart that you have tried to hide from the gracious gaze of God? Places where sin separates you from life in and through Christ Jesus?
Let them go. Daily, call the Arborist of your soul and invite Him to do His work in you. And, call a friend who will companion you in this essential journey to the throne of grace. You will like the experience of freedom from the weight of sin. And, your life in the Kingdom for the sake of others will be richer with impact for His glory.
Asking The Three Questions
Who is God?
God is: Gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
Jesus is: The answer to our sinful selves
The Spirit is: Wooing us to come
Who am I?
Daily in need of mercy
How ought we be living?
Instead of my answer to this question, what do you think? Please post your response.
©2009 Vine, Vision & Voice
Nancy R. Buschart