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I was reading my Bible study “homework” yesterday, and came across a wonderful illustration. Before I go further I will give credit. The book is One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land by Priscilla Shirer.

In this part I read, the word picture was a father holding his little baby very close, enjoying his child very much. But then a particular odor began to permeate the air. Yep, the diaper. As much as the father would have loved to keep holding his child close, he had to hold his child at arm’s length because of the offensive smell. The diaper had to be changed and the child had to be cleaned up before closeness could be restored. This picture was then compared to the relationship between us and God.

If you’re a parent you’ll understand even more deeply. Sometimes no matter how much you want to hold your child close, you can’t, for your sake and theirs. The smell is offensive to you and the cause is unhealthy to leave unchanged. God would love to hold all of us close, but sometimes we have a metaphorical dirty diaper. Sin is even more offensive to God than a dirty diaper is to a parent, but either way the child is held at arm’s length until a change occurs that we cannot accomplish ourselves. Once God has changed us, He can hold us close.