After months of searching for a clear passage to release me from my careless and unforgiving attitude, I uncovered the heart of the message delivered by the Prophets. I had formerly seen God’s unbending justice. Now I was searching for his lovingkindness and release.
When I realized that Jeremiah also sought God’s healing, my spirit soured with unspeakable joy as I read,
When 70 years (the years of punishment) have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfil my good word for you, to bring you back to this place. ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you.’
I remember crying for days. The prophetic word for me became healing and restoration. Again and again, God assured me that He loved me more than life. He cared for my smallest hurt. He was touched by my fear, lack of trust and feelings of betrayal.
For the next year, I lived with Jeremiah. All my reading and study related not only to the sinful condition Jeremiah’s words revealed; but the assurance of pardon and the promise of restoration which God repeated to my heart through the prophetic message. Slowly, I realized that my understanding of the justice the prophets proclaimed was not wrong. It was merely incomplete.
We don’t–we can’t–eradicate the message that God hates sin. Yet, far more important to me, I saw that I can’t ignore the truth that God is passionately, uncompromisingly, unfailingly in love with me, The Sinner. His desparte attempts to reconcile me to Himself ended in His death–not mine–on the cross.