He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him. ~ Psalms 103:10-13, NKJV
This is my favorite passage. Let me show you why . . .
Several years ago we caught one of our sweet children doing something wrong—and it was a pretty big deal. It was long and convoluted, and the whole of it played out in dramatic fashion (little girls are knitted with drama, right?). After the worst of the confession and discipline played out, she sobbed heavily. It was the kind of crying that comes from the soul, from a heart that is broken, not from a sneak that is simply mad at having been caught (I have three daughters, so I’ve become pretty good at recognizing the difference). I looked to my husband and we exchanged one of those puzzled ‘now what?’ glances. Disappointed by and now concerned for this rebuked, distraught little darlin’, we gathered her little trembling frame close.
She pushed us away.
“Why?” We asked.
“Because you don’t love me.” She cracked between labored breaths.
I began to cry with her. “You really think I don’t love you?”
She took the tiniest peek at me, and then turned away. “No.” She broke again. “No, but you shouldn’t love me.”
Oh, that killer moment. It still makes me tear up.
I love my little girl. I wish we had different words for love, because saying I love her the same way I say I love my coffee doesn’t do any kind of justice to how I really feel for her. I. LOVE. Her.
Years past that moment, though I can remember the poignant emotion of that day, I honestly don’t know exactly what she had done. Because it was forgiven. It’s gone.
I’ve felt her ache, though. In moments when I realize how utterly wretched I am, how desperately broken, ugly, and wrong my heart is, I weep before God. “Why do you love me? You shouldn’t.”
And then He takes me close, and I’m pretty sure there are tears in His inaudible voice as He whispers, “I love you. As far as the east is from the west, I have removed your sin.”
And it’s gone.