As I was praying this morning, I began to think back to my teenage years and my early twenties. I saw places where God corrected my path and even prevented me from making decisions that could have affected the rest of my life. At the time, I didn’t see what was happening or know how close I was to making life altering decisions. As I began to thank God for helping me to stay on the right path, I saw this image of a bowling ball bouncing between gutter guards.
I see now that those guards where there keeping me in the lane. My life hasn’t gone down the center of the lane headed for a perfect strike. Instead, it has bounced from one guard to the other. I’ve gotten course corrections all throughout my life. The further down the lane I go, the less I’m hitting the guards. I’m glad they’re still there though. I know I still need them from time to time.
Just like in the game of bowling, the guards don’t always prevent the ball from rolling into the gutter. It happens. It happened. My life did roll down that gutter for a while. I went past the guards that God had in place to keep me in the lane. Thankfully, even in the gutter, God put a course correction for my life. I had the opportunity to bounce out of the gutter and back into where He wanted me.
When life rolls into the gutter, it’s easy to forget that you can get back into the lane God has for you. It’s easy to think that you’ve somehow messed up so bad that God can’t fix it. Your mind tells you that you should just stay there and keep rolling all the way to the end. It’s a hopeless place because so very few exit the gutter. But even in the gutter, God is still ready to put us back in right standing with Him. He knows that even when He rescues us from it, our lives will still bounce back and forth.
What I have found is that God is patient, kind and forgiving. He never stops loving us even if we go past the guards He set up in our lives. He’s constantly waiting for us to call out to Him for help. He’s looking down that lane to see if we’re ready for a course correction. I think He delights in getting us out of the gutter and putting us back into the lane where He wants us. There’s nothing that you or I could ever do to keep Him from loving us and wanting to put us back where we belong. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness.