Can you recalling driving in a rainstorm, anxious as you follow a blurry trail of brake lights, only to have a semi-truck fly by and slosh a thick covering of water on your car? Come on. Anxiety shifts into panic or anger because you can no longer see the road lines or slow-moving vehicles ahead. One thing you can be thankful for in this moment is a good pair of windshield wipers. As you sing “Jesus Take the Wheel” with Carrie Underwood, the wipers clear everything out of the way. You can see again.
What is the proper response to seeing God? When we consider His glory, holiness, righteousness, faithfulness, power, knowledge, patience, and grace, what’s the right way to react? To add another factor, when we take this vision of God, and put next to it a realistic vision of who we are, then what’s a fitting response? What do sinful, limited, selfish, weak, broken, flawed, and impure creatures like us do before the infinite and almighty God?
Seeing God’s holiness and glory, and recognizing our sinfulness and frailty, is why people in the Bible commonly respond in humility and brokenness.
I know, repentance isn’t your favorite word. It’s not mine either. No doubt it conjures up something like an angry turn-or-burn “preacher” (either pounding the pulpit or screaming in the streets) letting people have it or an ultra-fundamentalist family member unhappy with your choices of what’s right or wrong. Despite the bad taste that might be lingering in your mouth for words like “repent” and “repentance”, let’s together seek to move past those barriers and rediscover what God actually says about repentance. It might never be for your favorite word or your favorite part of being a Christian, but as we look into God’s Word I think we’ll see that repentance is meant to be a life-giving, sin-replacing, gospel-rooted posture of the Christian life. Easy? No. Good? Yes.