You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin. Selah
You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger. Psalm 85:2-3
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Psalm 86:5
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
…You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:13, 15
In India, religion is filled with a lot of rituals. Some of the ceremonies are simple, like cooking a sweetened rice dish for cows, growing the largest potted plant and carrying it through the village to the temple, or shaving the hair off of the head. They are all offerings, small gifts given to the gods.
Other rituals are more drastic – walking for days to journey to far away holy places in the heat of the sun and often without shoes, bare feet running over large measures of hot coals, metal hooks lanced through the skin of the back and hooked to a cart carrying the image of gods through the street.
All of these rites show dedication to beliefs. But, they also demonstrate fear. They show the extent of what people are willing to do to assuage or escape the wrath of angry, unforgiving gods, gods that will reject, harm, or even cause death.
Every day I wake up knowing that, though I fear God with a sense of awe, I am not afraid of Him. I know that He chose me. I know that He loves me. I know that He forgives me, and that He will never leave nor forsake me.
He desires relationship over ritual, freedom over anxiety and terror. He offers grace, mercy, and forgiveness instead of rejection, cruelty, and accusation. His wrath was spent on the cross when He bore the metal spikes in His own skin, so I would never have to. His anger was replaced with love when He saw me covered in the blood of the Lamb.
I am so grateful that I worship the only Living God, the One who gave everything to call me His child. I am so grateful that my God is glad and not mad.
Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.