Missing Out on Life
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. Romans 9:4
I’m quite sentimental, and so, I enjoy reminiscing about my kid’s childhood. I love looking back over photos and videos, being profoundly grateful for the time my wife and I have had with them. It’s also somewhat painful to look back though, remembering my struggle with chemicals during those times. I don’t live perfectly now, but I won’t look back at this time in my life with the same sadness that I have when I look back on my using years. When I reflect on those times, there’s a cloud over them, darkening the memories. Yes, I had a wonderful family, but in my addiction, I was missing out on life. I can’t look back without sorrow and regret.
That, I think, is somewhat similar to Paul’s tone in today’s passage, as he lamented over the condition of his fellow Israelites. God sent the long-promised messiah to his people in the form of Jesus, but most of them didn’t recognized him. Instead, most rejected him. In doing so, Paul’s people missed out on the new life found only in Christ. Paul mourned the fact that the Israelites scorned the promise, the covenant, the glory, and the adoption into God’s family that was meant for them. Life was available, but they rejected it.
When my family fell apart in my addiction, I had to look back over my previous 15 years with sorrow. I realized that in my pursuit of drugs, I’d missed out on life with my family and with God. I realized I didn’t want the rest of my days to look like that. I needed profound change if I wanted to embrace recovery, joy, and life instead of darkness, destruction, and death.
It may not be as dramatic as a drug addiction, but many of you can identify. You look back with sorrow and regret over what you’ve missed out on. Maybe your anger has distanced you from your children. Perhaps your porn addiction has profoundly injured your marriage. Whatever it is, you’ve pursued your way and it’s not led to life, but death. It doesn’t have to be this way. In daily abandoning ourselves and following Christ, we can change. In him, we can experience the recovery, joy, and peace meant for us. We don’t have to miss out on the life for which God made us.