“‘Yet even now,’ declares the LORD,
‘return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments.’
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.”
The verses before these are a picture of vast destruction. The devouring fire of the Lord’s army. It looks inescapable. But then we read these words and the whole tone shifts. We see the heart of our God, and it is one that delights to see us return to Him—no matter how far off we’ve been.
To me, this is a beautiful reminder that I am never out of His reach. I will never get to a point where God will cast me out of His presence. I don’t have to spend my life wishing I had done things differently…I don’t have to make myself good enough…I don’t have to try and figure out how to fix what I’ve done so that He might look upon me in mercy…I simply need to return to Him with all my heart. It isn’t a religious exercise where certain steps are followed. It’s a restoration of your relationship with the One who makes you whole, the sovereign God to whom we owe honor and glory, praise and obedience. We don’t need to tear our garments to show the extent of our repentance—we need to humble ourselves before Him and give Him the broken pieces of our darkened heart, so that God our Healer can mend it and fill it with His righteousness and light.
Return to Him, for you can do so without fear. In Christ, grace abounds toward us. Our God is gracious and He is merciful, with mercies that are new with every rising of the sun. He is slow to anger, patient to an extent far greater than we’ve ever known. He is abounding in steadfast love. There will never come a moment when we don’t walk in the love of our Lord. It is steadfast. Immovable. Nothing will ever change it, because our God is greater than all and He has chosen to love us without fail.