Several years ago I managed to sneak away to a Ladies' Retreat with my church just weeks before my 4th child was to be born. The highlight of these retreats was a beautifully laid out half day of prayer. We were given a booklet full of scripture, aids to prayer, aids to confession, devotional thoughts, praise lyrics and the like to fill our 3 hours of solitude with the Lord. I looked forward to this part of the weekend more than the escape from daily life, more than the meals I didn't have to cook and the dishes I didn't have to clean. Just a time to really be with the Lord and to hear from Him and to get right with Him again.
I suppose it was the "getting right" part that I expected would take centre stage. I spent the first 2 hours of my time alone trying to find that "thing" I needed to confess: That one benchmark sin that I had been holding onto, or hadn't 'fully' confessed to date. I dredged up things from my past, I fine-tooth-combed my present issues, and then extrapolated to what sins might come up in the future. And still, I felt no satisfaction, no reconciliation, no real sense of having met with the Lord.
And then Isaiah. My eyes stumbled on a passage that I'm sure I had never seen before:
"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgression for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins." Is. 43:25
What? Could this really be true? I mean I knew He forgave my sins, I figured He must overlook my sins, but to think He wouldn't remember my sins...entirely earth shaking. I always imagined standing before the Judgement Throne with Father looking at me and seeing - remembering - all my sins, but loving me anyway because Christ was there covering me. I never imagined He would actually 'not remember' them.
But I couldn't stop there. What about me? Is there a way, Lord, I begged, that I too could 'not remember' my sin? I was led to turn to Isaiah 53:4
"Fear Not, for you will not be put to shame; Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more."
Yes! This is what I was longing for. I prayed and thanked the Lord for this revelation and asked that He would burn the truth into my heart so that I would not forget it.
As I returned home, my thoughts stayed with these insights, and as I meditated on these passages I found out even more beautiful aspects of these truths. The word 'remember' as used in the first passage I mentioned implies "Calling to mind, Looking at, or Considering" Ahh, release. Now I knew that when the memory of those sins came to haunt me I could in all honesty say "this is not from the Lord. I have confessed this, it is forgotten. He has wiped out my transgression and will not remember them or call them to mind." In fact He has turned His gaze from them and has stopped considering them as part of who I am.
All of this certainly gave me a deeper, more beautiful understanding of Isaiah 1:18
"Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool."
This is not just a painting over or a covering up. This is not just a glaze that can be scratched away or seen through. This is a new beginning with the past erased. Thank you Lord for such a gift. I pray You will enable me to walk in it daily.