I love to go to the beach. With its sounds and smells, the feel of the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, ahhh. It is so relaxing. And since I live fairly close to the beach, I can go pretty often.
When we lived in Florida, we went most often to the Gulf of Mexico. I remember lying on my towel and looking out at the water – the same Gulf that kissed the shores of Florida also touched Texas and, of course, Mexico. And when we ventured to Florida’s east coast, I looked out at the Atlantic and thought how amazing that ocean went all the way to Europe! I may not be able to visit England, but I could visit a body of water that touches England.
But the Pacific Ocean…that thing is HUGE! The waters I touch in the Pacific also touch the shores of Australia and China. My sister and her family, missionaries in Southeast Asia, over 8000 miles away, can see the shores of the same ocean that I visit. I can’t even fathom the magnitude of that much water. To visit my sister would take a day’s travel by plane and a passing through of 14 time zones! But the Pacific Ocean is both there and here.
Psalm 103:12 tells us “He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west.” When I read that verse, I think about the ocean. As far as the east – America – is from the west – Asia. That’s how far my sins have been removed. Some translators say this refers to the sun setting – as far as daybreak is from nightfall, that’s how far our sins are removed. Either way – our sins are long gone!
I might wish to take a swim across the Pacific and visit my sister. But, even if I weren’t ridiculously afraid of what’s in the ocean (Shark Week doesn’t help!), I could never make it. It’s simply too far.
I need to apply that same understanding to my sins. When God forgives me, that sin is long gone. I can’t reach it. It can’t come back for me. I don’t have to live with the guilt or shame of it. It is GONE. As far as the east is from the west.
What a wonderful, gracious God we have to take all our sins – every one of them – and toss them “as far as the east is from the west.” Let’s not live as if they are nearby, let’s not allow the Enemy to bring those sins back to our minds. They are GONE. Let us live in the joy and freedom of a forgiven life.