"I will seek what was lost, and bring back that which was driven away,
bind up the broken and strengthen that which was sick."
All of my life I have heard God described as a "God of second chances". People have told personal stories about how God took their life that they felt they had ruined and brought them back in His loving arms to a place of hope and restoration. They have experienced the forgiveness of God and have come to know the living definitions of mercy and grace. The Apostle Peter would perfectly fit this illustration. Here was a man that knew all of the answers. He spoke out of a heart of wisdom when he told Jesus that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. When other followers of Jesus were leaving, it was Peter that wonderfully declared, "Where else would we go? You have the words of eternal life." His words were nothing short of powerful. However, he is also the disciple who denied Jesus not simply once but three times. He essentially betrayed Jesus with his heart and his words. Surely he would join Judas in the ranks of the dead and the outcast. However, Jesus did something that is astounding. He personally sought Peter out and demonstrated forgiveness to him.
As I read this passage from Ezekiel, I noticed that God was the one doing the seeking. I recognized it was not the stray returning on their own, but it was God bringing them back. God in His love and mercy was tenderly binding up the broken to help them walk again; it was God giving His strength that is perfect in weakness to the sick. In Galatians 6 God tells those that are spiritual to restore a fallen brother. Do you know why He calls on His people to do such a thing? It is very simply because that is what He does. We are to be like Christ. He is the Shepherd that looks for the lost sheep when everyone else blames the sheep for running away. He is the Great Physician that cares enough to touch the leper when everyone else calls them unclean. He is the one that runs down the dusty road to the prodigal when others feel that he deserves what he is getting. God is a God of mercy and grace. God truly is a God of second chances.
I have been able to watch the God of mercy and restoration at work in the past year. I have seen Him bring very precious friends from the depths of despair to the heights of hope. God in His love sought, brought back, bound up, and strengthened His children. Along the way He has used some people who were spiritual to join Him in this process. Please don't think of saying that God is done with you. Don't think for a moment that because what you have done that God is not big enough to restore you. Simply look up and cry out for mercy. Fall on your face at the throne of grace and call to Jesus. To God be the glory for the great things He has done!
May you know the grace of God today!