Psalm 32: 3-4 When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night YOUR hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
The Mighty HOLY SPIRIT has so many amazing jobs: One of HIS jobs is that of Counselor. JESUS referred to HIM this way in John 16:7-8. This indwelling COUNSELOR guides us to understand GOD's Word and how it applies to us. Moreover, when we are daily in GOD's Word and paying attention to HIS leading and HIS gentle whispers, this COUNSELOR serves as a guide for where we should go, what we should say/NOT say, and what we should do/NOT do...all day long. HE never steers wrong...
But we have to be paying attention. Sometimes, my lack of attention causes me to miss an opportunity to join GOD in HIS work. Worse yet, I sometimes “blurt” something out just as I feel HIS hand of restraint over my mouth, or I do something that I should have asked GOD about first (because HE would have said “DON'T DO IT!!! DON'T GO THERE!!! DON'T APPROACH IT THAT WAY!!!). And I forever struggle with being emotion-led instead of GOD-led. My own hot-headedness, my own distractions, and my own desires to do things my way often lead me right to the place I hate the most...
The “LAND of WOE.”
The “Land of Woe” is the place we find ourselves as believers after we have said what we shouldn't have said, after we have done what we shouldn't have done. It feels AWEFUL!!!! It's as though our gentle, loving ADVISOR who lives inside us turns into a LION! HE doesn't “whisper” anymore...HE ROARS! HE turns up the heat! HE keeps HIS burning, red-hot finger right on our “sin,” and it stays there. It stays there until we feel truly “weak and miserable.” Our souls groan under the weight of our sin, and our strength evaporates “like water in the summer heat” (Psalm 32:3-4). We feel isolated and alone in this land because our“stuff” has caused broken fellowship with our FATHER. GOD, JESUS, and the HOLY SPIRIT love us too much to let us to stay there long, so they make us feel as uncomfortable as possible. We can't “shake” it. This “yuckiness” is GOD's divine plan; the HOLY SPIRIT serves us a giant helping of “misery” so we will see our ”stuff” for what it is—SIN. And that misery drives us to repentance. Should we refuse to repent, we harden our hearts--our sinful selves will try to create a barrier to protect ourselves from the painful convictions of the SON. In doing this, we are choosing rebellion over GOD's perfect plans for us...and we are flirting with disaster!!!
But if we repent, our misery is GONE! Psalm 32:5 says “Finally, I confessed all my sins to YOU and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.' And YOU forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” Repentance makes that yucky, HOLY SPIRIT-given feeling go away! Repentance is our ticket out of the “Land of Woe!” Praise GOD!!! When “we confess our sins to HIM, HE is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9). We may still have to “say sorry” to others, we may still have to face the consequences for stepping out of our FATHER's will, but our fellowship with GOD has been restored! Our hearts are once again pliable! Our spiritual growth is back on track! We can face the damage our rebellion did with “DAD” holding our hand! We can face these challenges with joy because our rebellion has been forgiven, and our sins are out of sight! “Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty” (Psalm 32:1-2)! When we say “sorry” to GOD, we are being honest with our FATHER about our “stuff.” In return, HE forgives our sins and restores our GOD-given joy!!!
LORD, thank YOU for loving us enough to make our rebellion feel yucky and miserable. Thank YOU for the painful, cleansing FIRE of the HOLY SPIRIT! Thank YOU for our misery in the“Land of Woe!” Help us repent if we are “stuck” there! Remind us of its “yuckiness” so we won't willfully return there! Let's sharpen our HOLY SPIRIT listening ears (through the reading of GOD's Word, through prayer, through listening to HIS gentle guiding whispers) so we can avoid the “Land of Woe” today! AMEN!!!