By Rae Lynn DeAngelis

Many of our family vacations included a trip to the local go cart track. I remember one go cart track in particular that had a helix which circled round and round, slowly ascending up, until you reached the next level of the track.

With that analogy in mind, consider a teaching from the book of Nehemiah. Following a seven day public reading of the Book of the Law, the Levite priests provided a narrative that summarized the history of God’s relationship with His people. As I read through the chronicle, certain words and phrases kept being repeated: “You” and “they.” “You” represented God, and “they” represented God’s people. I began to notice a theme taking place. See if you can detect it.

“You are… You found… You made… You saw… You sent… You knew… You made… You divided… You led… You came… You spoke… You gave… You made known… You gave… You brought… You told them to go…” (Nehemiah 9:7-15).

“They became arrogant… They did not obey… They refused to listen… They failed to remember… They became stiff-necked… They rebelled… They returned to slavery…” (Nehemiah 9:16-17).

“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love… You did not desert… You did not abandon… You did not withhold… You gave… You made… You told… You subdued… ” (Nehemiah 9:18-24).

“They captured… They took… They ate… They reveled… They disobeyed… They killed… They committed awful blasphemies… “They were oppressed… They cried out…” (Nehemiah 9:25-27a)

“You heard… You gave… You rescued…” (Nehemiah 9:27b).

“They did evil… You handed them over to their enemies…They cried out… You heard… You delivered… They became arrogant… They sinned… You were patient… They paid no attention… You handed them over… But in your great mercy, you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God” (Nehemiah 9:29-31).

As I was meditating on this thought it seemed like God’s people were wandering around in a circle, not making any progress at all. They just kept circling back to old ways. But then God gave me the visual of that go cart track with the helix and taught me something profound. Although it might seem like the they were not making any progress, in reality, each cycle of the Israelite’s rebellion followed by repentance took them to a higher elevation with God. They were drawing closer and closer to the heart of God and growing their relationship with Him.

Hebrews 13:8 says that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The same God who forgave the Israelites over and over is the same God who forgives us over and over. God is still the God of love, forgiveness, patience, generosity, compassion and mercy.

If we are truly seeking to know, love, and serve God, although we might circle back to old habits, toxic thoughts, or destructive behaviors now and then, each time we repent and turn back to God, He takes us higher than we were before.

Don’t let the enemy deceive you into thinking you are not making any progress. As long as you keep turning back to God, He will take you to the next level of spiritual growth. Onward and upward, Christian Soldier; onward and upward!