Has there ever been a time in your life when things have gotten so bad, that your sins have become so burdensome, that God simply wasn’t anxious to hear your prayers? Doubtless there isn’t a Christian among us who would answer that question in the affirmative. Sure, God always listens to our prayers no matter how poorly we have lived our lives. The Bible tells us that this is so. Yet, how many of us really believe it all the time no matter what the circumstance?
Many years ago I remember studying about the great king of the Ostrogoths, Theodoric. He reigned for decades over the fading splendor of the Roman empire and was known for his great bravery and cunning. During his reign the empire, or what was left of it, experienced a very rare period of peace. Yet in his last years, Theodoric disrupted that peace with a brutal act that would affect the remainder of his reign and his life. He put to death two men, Symmachus and Boethius. Both these men were honorable men but posed what Theodoric believed was a threat to his reign. Both were brutally killed. This was an act that haunted the emperor for years to come. He experienced difficulty making decisions and often awoke in the middle of the night in a sweat and great fear.
Remorse had closed itself upon Theodoric. His conscience pestered and plagued him mercilessly to the point of distraction. Finally, one evening at a feast Theodoric beheld the head of a fish that had been served on a platter and it instantly become the visage of the brutally murdered Symmachus. Theodoric removed himself to his bed chamber and became very ill. Trembling with fright and regret, he finally fell to his knees and repented to his physician of his great guilt. Three days later he died calmly and in a peace with His Lord.
Theodoric found that even though the burden of his guilt was great, the prospect of forgiveness and peace was many times more alluring than escape. He bent the knee and unburdened his heart to the Lord. Although he had allowed that guilt to effectively block his prayer pathway for years, it finally became too much of a burden. Prayer overcame fear. So too with Samson. Despite his terrible sins, God still loved Samson. He was willing to hear and answer his prayer of confession and repentance and use him one final time to do his will. His way leads to peace even when it seems that His way is blocked by the burden of sin and sorrow. That’s the horrible thing about sin. It often keeps us from going to God when we need most to be there. Don’t let feelings of guilt separate you from the grace and mercy that God has waiting for you to claim. He still has great things for you to do--just ask Him!
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