If you are a parent, you have probably seen the following scene play out more than once:

  • Parent says, “Sit your bottom in your chair.”
  • Child ignores parent, keeps leaning over.
  • Parent says, “Sit your bottom in your chair, or you’re going to fall and hurt yourself.”
  • Child remains unfazed.
  • Parent thinks to self, “I guess they’re going to learn the hard way.”
  • Child falls out of chair, scream-crying commences, child calls out to parent for comfort.

I’ve seen this play out multiple times in my five years of parenting. And despite the fact that I warned my child, and they completely ignored my instructions, I will always comfort them in their pain, even though their pain is the direct consequence of their disobedience.

In Nehemiah 1, we see this scenario play out between God and his people, Israel. God gave them very clear instructions, which they completely ignored. God told them what would happen to them if they didn’t obey, and still they ignored him. As a result, Israel found itself in the exact painful consequences that God foretold.

Yet what we will see from the remainder of the book of Nehemiah is that, when Israel cried out to God from its pain, God did not cold-bloodedly say, “Don’t come crying to me now!” Instead, when Israel cried out to him, God came to their assistance with mercy and steadfast love.

Our story is similar to Israel’s. We often ignore God’s instructions for our lives and, eventually, we come face to face with the consequences of our sinful decisions. Praise God that, when we cry out to him in those moments, he doesn’t tell us, “That’s what you get.” Instead, he floods our lives with his mercy and steadfast love.

He is a good, good Father. No matter where you are in your faith journey today, if you cry out to him, he will invade your life with love and mercy. Will you cry out to him today?