I grew up in a Christian home with every opportunity to learn about God. I was in church regularly, usually more than once a week, and I genuinely enjoyed it. I loved God and understood that he loved me. Somewhere along the line, however, I became distracted. During my last couple years of high school and my first year of college God and I became “estranged.”
God has a lot of different reputations. Without taking the time or space to try to list the many different takes people have on God, I would like to address one of them. There are some who believe God to be angry and cruel. I even know believers who perceive God to be waiting and watching for an excuse to bring condemnation down and to exclude as many people from his family as possible. That has not been my experience at all. In fact, quite the opposite is true. While having plenty of good reason to condemn us, God has gone out of his way to reconcile us to himself.
I was reading in 2 Samuel this morning. In the events that unfold in chapters 13 and 14 David’s son, Absalom, ends up banished from the king’s presence. As Joab attempts to reconcile Absalom and King David there is a line uttered that I think is a beautiful depiction of God’s character.
“But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.” 2 Samuel 14:14
I was, at one point, “estranged” from the King. I was no longer close to him. I was not affectionate toward him. I had become alienated from him. That is no longer the case. Because even while I was pursuing sin and distancing myself from him, he was devising ways to reconcile me to himself.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.” (Eph 2:4–5)