The Weight of Guilt is Lifted

When I was 11 NASA sent the Pathfinder rover to Mars. And I was fascinated by the idea that we had thrown a bunch of metal into space and it landed on Mars. So, I was pretty excited back in March of this year when I learned that NASA was going to livestream the mission control for their latest rover.

Well, if you saw it, then you know it did touch down, and everything went well. But what was most interesting to me was the reaction of the mission control as they got the confirmation that it had safely landed. Now, because of the distance from Earth to Mars there is a 12 minute delay for signals to get to Mars from Earth, and vice versa. So, when the rover reaches Mars it sends a signal to Earth to let us know it is beginning the 7 minute descent to the surface. But that signal takes 12 minutes to get to Earth. So by the time we get the signal, the rover has already either landed safely or is a smoldering crater on the Martian surface. This little phenomenon is called the 7 minutes of terror. 

Watching the live stream you got to see how the room got quiet when they received the notice that decent had begun. There was this tension in the room because at that point what’s happened has already happened, but they had to wait for confirmation or a lack thereof. Well, as I said, it did land and everything went as planned, but it was really neat to see the mission control as they reacted to the first images of Mars’ surface from the rover. Everyone jumped up, there was shouting, and excitement about the success of the mission. The elation that their hard work had paid off, and they were gonna get to do everything they hope to with the rover.

Well, I have been working through the book of Psalms this year in my free time, one Psalm a day, and when I got to Psalm 32, I couldn’t help but picture the NASA mission control. Take a look.
PSALM 32:1-7
How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
How joyful is a person whom the Lord does not charge with iniquity and in whose spirit is no deceit!
When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained
as in the summer’s heat. Selah
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to you immediately. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance. Selah
You read that and you see the joy of someone whose sins have been forgiven. David first describes himself as having brittle bones from groaning all day long, feeling God’s hand heavily on him, and his strength being drained like the summer’s heat because he’s holding on to his sin, he hasn’t yet confessed it to God. But then when he goes to God, it’s that instant release. The weight of guilt is lifted, and all of a sudden he can breathe. And in place of his guilt is joy in the LORD.

If there’s something we take away from a passage like this, it’s that in holding on to our sin, our guilt destroys us. It wears us down and saps everything from us. But, as David describes, giving up our sin and confessing it to God is life giving. Look at the way David describes himself after confessing his transgressions. He says that God forgave the guilt of his sin, that God became his hiding place, his protection in times of trouble, and surrounded him with joyful shouts of deliverance.

If you’re holding on to your sins, like David was, confess them to God. God’s forgiveness is instant, and it’s life giving. Just like the team at mission control when they saw those first images of the rover on Mars, we too can have that instant elation of the forgiveness of our sins. The only thing we have to do is confess them to God, and he’ll do the rest.

Mike Sanders
Director of Family Ministries at Calvary Burlington

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