Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved.
Psalm 80:7, New Living Translation (NLT)
Often we pray “God, please come into our life, turn your face toward us…” We are not the only ones; the numerous writers of the Bible have prayed the same. Yet, as we read the Bible this morning at Church, I stared at the words in my NLT Bible, for they seemed to stand out.
Turn us again to yourself.
Reminder numero uno.
We have turned away from Him. Not vice versa. When something goes wrong in our life, we automatically assume it is because God has left us, turned away from us. It is more convenient to blame God for everything that happens than to think that perhaps there was a reason for the situation we’re in for which we are the ones responsible. Jonah could have blamed God for getting eaten by a whale – without taking into account WHY God sent that animal (and the fact that otherwise Jonah would’ve died in the open sea). Israelites could (and did) blame God and Moses for taking them away from Egypt and into the desert for 40 years (not considering the fact that they were supposed to get to the Promised Land a lot sooner if only they haven’t complained so much)… The Bible is full with examples like that and our lives have a share of those experiences too.
Reminder numero dos.
God has been there all the time… waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently, stopping short of banging our heads with a billboard of a sign, yet using all other kinds of attention-grabbers).
Reminder numero tres.
This is not something we do ourselves. Asaph, the author of the Psalm 80, prays for God to turn the Israel back to Him. The passive voice of the sentence implies that we just need to be willing to be “turned” and God will do the “turning.”
I have heard the phrase “I have found God” countless times in my 18 years of Church life. Every time I hear it, I smile. I cannot help myself – it just sounds like God was the one lost and we were looking and looking and looking and LO and BEHOLD: THERE HE IS! (We have a saying in Russian: I have not noticed the elephant).
We are the ones lost. He is the one who finds us.
However, even though our God is omnipotent, He gave us free will and He cannot force us turn to Him for help. It is our decision to turn to Him. Just like the father in the Prodigal Son parable, He waits for us. It was Father’s decision to forgive and accept his lost son despite the fact that the son has hurt the father deeply – his love was bigger than hurt.
I am amazed at God’s amazing grace. Every day when I consider the fact that He cares for me so much, I am stunned. His love is even more beautiful to contemplate.
Turn us again to yourself, God.
Smile upon us and our hearts will rejoice with yours.
Remind us that we do not have to try to do everything ourselves – we will never be strong enough. That is why we need you.
And thank you so much for the wonderful and truly amazing grace you extend toward us.