Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. (Ps. 51:8)

SIXTEEN-year-old Mandy knew why her father wanted to talk to her. Minutes before, she had received a text message that her cousin Sarah had run a red light, totaled her parents’ car, and been rushed to the hospital with several broken bones. Mandy often hung out with Sarah after school and unfortunately had followed her cousin into several bad situations, including shoplifting and vandalism. Two weeks of grounding had separated the two, giving Mandy time to pull away from her cousin’s influence. Mandy’s father came into her room and quietly assured her, “Sarah is going to be OK. But it’s a good thing you weren’t along for the ride. The passenger side of the car was destroyed.” Suddenly, Mandy was thankful she had been grounded.

In your Christian walk, have you ever felt pained, grounded, or crushed? At times it can seem like God has us under the weight of His hand. We’ll especially feel the pressure that comes when we walk away from Him into sinful thoughts and actions. But God doesn’t just punish us. He doesn’t just put us on the shelf and take us away from the action. He gives us the chance to return to Him in repentance. He holds out opportunity for us to make a life change. When we turn to God, we leave our sin behind. It’s when God’s Spirit is at work in us that we’ll start rejoicing again!

God’s help is only a prayer away.

Paul Zinter has served as a pastor and editor. He enjoys writing, bread making, and teaching at his local church.