I have been reading through Bleak House by Charles Dickens for a while, slowly taking in the story. It is full of characters, sub-characters, walk on extras, and a clear commentary of the judicial system in England during that time.
One character had really caught my eye and heart. Lady Dedlock is a woman who has married into a family of history, social standing, and reverential respect from the community. Her name fits her situation though. She is dead-locked by her past. She cannot suppress her history, though she speaks very seldom, almost in fear that her pain will come tumbling out of her mouth if she speaks freely.
I have spent a lot of time trying to figure her out. Trying to decide is she so regal that she is above everyone else? Or is she so dead in her heart that she cannot engage with others in a true relationship? When her past becomes known, she flees not wanting to bring disgrace to her husband. Finally she is found by Inspector Bucket and her illegitimate daughter, Esther, but it is too late. Lady Dedlock has died outside the cemetery where her former lover, Esther’s father, has been buried.
She died just moments before she learned that she was forgiven. She died believing she was unforgivable, when the law was actually coming to offer her grace.
We are living our lives like Lady Dedlock. We may appear to be above it all, but really we are dead and locked away inside. We believe we are without hope, all is bleak. When really, God is offering His amazing love and grace to us, if we would just turn toward Him.
That sweet, sweet moment when we turn to receive the free, incredible gift of forgiveness is breathtaking and beautiful. We can finally lift our heads, breathe deeply, and see the world as God intended, through His Heavenly eyes. We are blessed, encouraged, loved, free.
O Best Beloved, what is your heart like right now? Is it dead, broken, burdened, and bleak? Just turn around. Face God, be honest, He already knows what you have done. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, just speak your heart (1 John 1:9). God, I blew it. I have made a mess of my life, and I admit now that I need You. Please forgive me, come into my life and into my heart.
At that moment your heart will turn from bleak to beautiful.
“…because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).