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David Emory tells the story of baptizing a young father who had a 7 year old and 5 year old. They were close friends of his family and had never been a part of a church. But one Sunday, they came to worship, he gave his life to Christ and was baptized. At the end of the service, after everyone else had left, David walked back into the sanctuary to turn off the lights and lock the doors he found this man on the front row with his head in his hands. He sat down next to him only to see that this young father’s eyes were red and swollen with tears. “What’s wrong?” he asked. He answered, “I just feel this profound sense of the mistakes I have made in my life. I’ve done some things I’m really ashamed of and I just need to ask God for forgiveness. When I was a student in college, I played football. I was pretty popular and I used my situation to take advantage of lots and lots of women and I hurt them again and again and again. Now that I have two little girls, I just pray they don’t meet someone like me. I now realize the young women I hurt and the selfish decisions I had for myself, they were somebody’s little girl and I am ashamed.” For this young man, the only appropriate words were “Woe is me.”

Some of you have been there. When you realize the holiness of God and the life to which we have been called and how far short you have fallen of the glory of God and His holiness. And yet, there is good news: it’s that dark, burden filled, guilt laden and shameful place where God can begin to work in your life. Because it’s in this place where you begin to reach out to God with your whole being. It’s in this place where God can reach down into your life, touch you with his grace and forgiveness as he did with Isaiah and then offer you a new beginning. That’s who God is. God is not just holy and far removed. Our God is a god of second chances. If you are at the point of “Woe” hear this: God is ready to meet you where you are.

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