When I was at my parents’ house yesterday, I decided it was time for me to gather some of my belongings from their attic that had been sitting there for many years. I have a bunch of boxes up there from my college and high school days. Unfortunately, I was only able to bring one shoebox home this time because of limited time and space.
But as I rummaged through that box last night after I got home and read some of its contents, I was reminded all too acutely of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child.” The box contained a few tests that I had taken in Algebra and Chemistry—and let’s just say that they were well south of A’s!
But more than my immaturity in my study habits, it was sobering to realize how little I thought of God when I was in high school. As I’ve said before, even though most people looked at me as being a “good kid,” I spent so much time worrying about silly and immature things—sports, music, movies, girls! And I couldn’t help but think to myself, “It is a miracle that I am a pastor today.”
For some people who have known me for a long time, this may seem like a funny thing to write because many people often say that they always knew I would go into the ministry and be a pastor. I seemed to be spiritually inclined in those days. Yet reflecting upon my true thoughts and affections from those days does lead me to conclude that it is only by God’s grace that I am anywhere near the person God wants me to be. Not that I’ve “arrived,” but I hope I have put away “childish things.”
And there is also great comfort in David’s words in the book of Psalms. David experienced his fair share of folly in his day (even on into adulthood). Yet his prayer to God was one that is on my heart as well—and hopefully on yours: “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways,” (Psalm 25:7, NIV) he wrote, “According to Your love remember me, for You are good, O Lord.”
All of us, no matter where we are in life or what we did in our youth, can take comfort that this is one prayer that God does answer. Indeed, as Micah reminds us, God casts all of our sins “into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). We need not worry whether God will overlook our folly, our silliness, or immaturity, indeed, our sin. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (see 1 John 1:9).
So what about you? Do you look back on your youth and shudder? Have tremendous guilt from when you thought and spoke and acted as a child? Christ went to Calvary for us—so that such foolishness could be forgiven and cast into the depths of the sea.
So why not take Him at His word?