I remember as a child, and even as a teenager, breaking my parents' hearts because of things that I did and said. I remember thinking that my relationship with them would never be the same because of the wrong or hurt that I had caused them. I thought that my sin would make this relationship irreparable. Then in my despair, I recall a hand that stretched out to me and pulled me into their arms. When I became a parent, I realized just what my parents meant when they stretched out their hand to me as they drew me into their arms ... forgiveness before I had even asked. The relationship never changed. It was only the fellowship that changed because of my actions.
I see this same exact love that our heavenly Father has for His children. Just like the many times that I thought my relationship was irreparable, the stretched out hand that I took hold of showed me that my relationship had never changed.
I was again reminded of this truth while reading in the book Isaiah. I ran across a phrase in Isaiah 5:25 that is mentioned five times in six chapters. The phrase is referring to the wonderful grace of God that was extended to His children, "... but his hand is stretched out still." When God repeats Himself multiple times, we need to take notice. This phrase is repeated in Isaiah 9:12, Isaiah 9:17, Isaiah 9:21, and Isaiah 10:4.
In these six chapters, God's people went away from the God of Israel. God was very direct to those that had gone astray from Him when he addressed them three times saying, "Woe unto them ..." in Isaiah 5. We also see where He was angry with them because of their actions and His anger was kindled upon His children. But then we find the phrase for the first time in Isaiah 5:25, "... but his hand is stretched out still." My mind went to Luke 16 where the prodigal son's father saw his prodigal child afar off and had compassion, ran after him, hugged him, and kissed him. Aren't you glad that sin never removes us from the family of God! Our sin hinders our fellowship with our heavenly Father, but we serve a gracious Father that has His hand stretched out still to His children.
I don't know where you are at in your relationship with God. You may feel that your sin has exceeded the grace of His outstretched hand, but friend, His grace is always stretched out for one of His own. Grab His hand and let the heavenly Father pull you into His arms and restore the fellowship you once had with Him. Maybe you need to stretch out your hand to a family member or a friend and pull them back into the fellowship you once had as well. Remember, "... but his hand is stretched out still." to you today.
Written by Brian Ragle