I recently rewatched the episode of “The Chosen” when Mary Magdalene, after having been redeemed and now a follower of Yeshua, falls back into her old ways. Her life is so representative of each of ours, perhaps not to the depths of her sins, but our sins are all on the same continuum. If we understand that we can’t live without sinning, then how does it even happen that anyone is ready for Yeshua’s return?
Toward the end of yesterday’s Dvar Torah, Matthew 24, Yeshua discusses that He will return but we will not know at what hour. The parable discusses the fate of the faithful servant who may act differently while the master is away, the old while the cat’s away the mice will play story, and how that choice would not serve him well if on that day the master returned. Since we do not know when Yeshua will return, we are encouraged to live lives following His teachings – in Him – as much as we can so that when that day arrives, we will be ready. And yet, we sin every day in some way, so how are we really ever ready?
As we make choices to open more divine portals to Him in the ways we’ve been discussing – daily Scripture study and prayer, living lives of lovingkindness to others, making choices toward the light rather than the darkness – we are in Him from our perspective more of the time and can palpably feel God’s presence. When He is at the center of our thinking we tend to do the right thing. In addition to choices we are given to walk in His light, we may also have personal experiences that accelerate our walk with Him.
One of my readers shared an exceptionally moving personal story in response to last week’s Shabbat encouragement. At the time of impact after a serious car accident, despite her severe and painful injuries, through it all she felt Yeshua actually holding her in His arms from the moment when she regained consciousness and through the long hours that followed. The paramedics transporting her and the doctors treating her could not understand why when asked, her pain level felt like 0 rather than 10. She, however, knew it was through the ministering she was receiving from Yeshua.
My reader’s life was transformed, from that moment, and continues with her knowledge in every moment that Yeshua is with her. Some of us, working toward lives of transformation to that level, experience glimpses or longer times of this type of closeness. If our life has been transformed or is in the process, as we increase our efforts to seek Him, then when He comes we’ll be in Him, following His teachings in our daily lives. We will be ready, not feeling like the master is away, but rather, that he’s here, watching us, knowing our every thought.
We typically look at forgiveness and sin like a gumball machine, penny in, gumball out – sin, be forgiven, sin, be forgiven, sin, be forgiven. Perhaps with lives transforming to be close to Him, instead we are striving to be, or with our constant faith are, working toward a constant state of forgiveness. Just as we know Yeshua is always there for us but we don’t always see it, so too, as we live transformed lives we become more able to see His love of us and His forgiveness of our failings despite our shortcomings.
As we accept our failings and try harder with this deeper knowledge of His love for us, we become more able to do better, to be encouraged to make the choices we’ve been discussing. The more we live in Him, the more we experience the both/and – His intimate presence here as well as preparation for His return. Life’s journey is to have more moments of living in Him as we transform to be His servants as best we are able given our sometimes ungodly human inclinations, growing over time to become more in His image.
Forgiveness is eternal. It’s just we aren’t perfect. So the more we strive to live in Him, the more we succeed, the more we are ready for His return, the more we understand His divine love of us. As we become more able to see the transformative power of His divine love of us, we become more able to be His faithful servants in the broadest sense of the words.
My dear reader shared the tangible, personal omnipresence of Yeshua literally holding her in the driver’s seat and throughout her terrifying experience, and her continuing feeling of His Presence as a result. For all of us, He is here with us all the time though we don’t always know, feel, or understand. Perhaps He manifests himself through a trauma, perhaps through our efforts to know Him. In all these ways He facilitates through His Presence our ability to open more Divine portals to Him, to more fully experience the gift He gave of His life in order to make available to us complete transformation, eternal forgiveness through His divine love.