A gentle rain washes my dusty sidewalk and quenches my thirsty grass. The suffocating humidity has given way to cool, crisp air as I head out for my morning run. Green yards are slowly being sprinkled with brown, red and yellow leaves falling from the trees. Fall is here, and I’m all for it.
There’s something refreshing about a change of season. There are many reasons I enjoy summer, but by this time of year I’m done with the heat, I’m done mowing grass, and I’m ready to bundle up next to a fire. Although temporary, the refreshment provided by a change of season is always welcome, especially during a difficult year.
A Lasting Refreshment
The reality, however, is that in a few months I’ll be sick of the cold and I’ll long for Spring. I’ll grow tired of raking leaves and be ready for green grass. There are many times of refreshment that promise much in this life, but only deliver temporary results. The hopes of a fresh start and New Year’s resolutions often fade by February.
However, there is a lasting refreshment provided by the Lord. We read about such refreshment in Proverbs: “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (3:7-8).
Peter preaches a similar message: “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” (Acts 3:19-20).
Scripture highlights the beauty and gift of repentance. Turning from our sin and confessing to the Lord provides the greatest and most lasting refreshment. Because of Christ’s atonement, there is a never-ending source of God’s mercy and grace when we repent and turn to him.
Hiding Brings Shame, Confession Gives Life
In order to truly repent we must face our sin, be honest about it, and confess to the Lord and to others we have wronged. Our prideful, sinful hearts often keep us from receiving such refreshment because we’d rather cover our sin or hide it. We cower in shame and guilt rather than walking in the freedom the gospel provides. We die of thirst even while the fountain is within our reach.
In Psalm 32, David tried to hide his sin but found it overwhelming: “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer” (3-4). However, he finally relented and experienced the refreshing grace of our Lord: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v. 5).
May we not hide our sin or try to atone for it ourselves. Instead, let us bask in the mercy of Christ that is more refreshing than a change of season and more satisfying than ice cold water on a hot day. Rather than wallowing in the swamp of our own shame and guilt, let us drink deeply from the fountain of his grace and love.