There were piles of empty cardboard boxes under the rafters.

There were piles of empty cardboard boxes under the rafters. Old, discarded household items which ‘might come in handy again’, boxes of children’s toys ready for visitors or grandchildren… the piles seemed endless! Time for a good clear out. Having a big sort out allowed unwanted things to be passed onto new homes, forgotten items were rediscovered and some order and space were created in the loft. As the cobwebs were swept aside a story Jesus told in the Bible came to mind. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15v8-10 (NIV) The loft clearance did find some useful ‘lost treasures’ as well as remind us of what we’ve actually got stashed away up there. However, the woman in the story went to great lengths to find something of real value, a treasure that was precious to her and was worth the effort of searching in the dark and dirty corners of her house. Jesus then likens this to one of us, who was estranged from God because of our sin, yet now able to come near to God because we repent (or turn away) from that sin. God is looking for us, calling us to repent and turn to Him from whichever dark place we may have wandered into. He is willing and able to forgive us when we acknowledge our sin and fall on His mercy. Psalm 103v8-12 says: “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love… he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Our lives may need some bad habits and behaviours clearing out, but if we fear God and truly change our ways, he will be compassionate and gracious to us. What a comfort that is!

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