Because see I'm not what's known as a strong christian. My prayer life is almost non existent, and I struggle with keeping a regular devotions. I sin a lot, who doesn't? But sometimes it seems like my life is just one long attempt at how much I can get away with.
Now you know.
Needless to say there are times when I try for a couple days but always always I fall back into my old habits. Only about a half an hour ago I was sitting in our basement crying over all this. Verses like "by their fruits ye shall know them" and "many shall say unto me in that day Lord Lord..." and "since thou art neither hot nor cold but lukewarm I shall spew thee out of my mouth" ran through my head. I tried to pray I tired to think. But I could only wonder desperately if I was slated for hellfire.
Does this all sound melodramatic to you? Well it does to me too. Sometimes that's one of the things I wonder about. Am I just working myself up because I hope God will see how wretched I am and consider me worthy of salvation? These fears sound a bit silly written down but they are real fears. Scary fears and I don't think I'm the only one who has them.
So I was crying and rooting around in my Bible trying to find some comfort when I came to Isaiah. Great. Isaiah is one of those books like Leviticus that I try to avoid. It seems long and repetitious and full of threatenings. I was about to flip to the psalms when a phrase caught my eye, "Fear Thou Not" now "fear not" is my favorite phrase in the whole Bible. Just the sight of it will calm me down. Gulping a little I read the whole verse. Maybe here was the comfort I sought.
I'm just going to copy my notes in here because they really display what was going through my head. They're rather emotional but I'm not apologizing. I'm an emotional person.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
"Fear Not" I love these words! "For I am with thee" Lord don't leave me alone. He says he will be with me. If I claim this promise is it mine? My life says I'm unsaved, my heart doesn't say otherwise. But I need you Lord. I can't go on without you. All day long I enjoy what I want and what pleases me. I do not seek the face of God. How can I be helped by him? My heart is turned inward, will I be left with only my heart to guide and comfort me? "I will strengthen thee" will he? Stop doubting! Claim the promise! Love the savior! Stop lingering under your stupid burden and your wining! Your are so stupid! Do you have any idea how dumb you are? Stop being dismayed over your sinful sleep and catch up your roll of directions and run on caring not for the lions.So I had gotten to the exasperated "why can't I just stop this endless cycle of self pity, sin and fear?" stage but pep talks don't really fix much and I was rather disgusted with my own words, after all what did it really matter if I claimed promisses and caught up rolls of directions if I was just going to start slipping again in about an hour?
I kept reading feeling like dirt. But when I got to verses thirteen and fourteen I felt like something different. I felt like a worm.
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
Suddenly I was crying again. But not from fear.
Fear not thou worm! Yes! You are a worm! But he loves you any way! Did you think you would not fail Him? did you think you could be perfect? Did you think you could SAVE YOURSELF? You are a WORM! But he loves you, fear not! If you go back to your wormish things he will strengthen you and hold your hand through the fear and the struggle. And he isn't impatient with you either, he LOVES you! He loves you!
How can he possibly sigh and say, "oh Anne not again! You know what? be that way! You aren't worth the trouble." Of course you're not worth the trouble! That's the whole point! You are a worm you little meaningless Jacob you with your pretentiousness and snobbiness and gunk of sin, but fear not! "I will hold thy right hand!" God! Holding my hand!When temptation comes say to yourself "Thou worm Jacob!" and you'll remember that God is holding you right hand, ready to hold you up with the strength of his righteousness. When you fail say "Thou worm Jacob!" and you'll remember that worms act wormily but God says "fear not! I will help thee"
To me it seems almost as if the words "thou worm Jacob" are endearing, like when Jesus called his disciples "little faiths" worms called Jacob or little faiths it's all the same thing we are SINNERS and it's amazing how liberating it is when we remember that!
Yes I fail! I will always fail! But he will never fail and he is able to keep me from falling. But unlike Justification sanctification requires a little elbow grease, so fellow worms? Let us say with Paul:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
There once was a worm named Peter who denied the Lord. A worm named David who murdered. A worm named Hopeful who went on pilgrimage but got sidetracked at Vanity Fair. A worm called Christian who got lazy and lost his assurance.
Lots of worms. But God is still God. And I'm glad I'm a worm. "The physician comes not to heal those that are well but those that are sick"
And you are certainly sick you worm Jacob, you!