When you get to be middle-aged like me, you begin to have that odd sensation known as deja vu more often, the sense that you've been here before, done this before. Traveling through the dark to Columbia, South Carolina tonight, seeing familiar exits, known landmarks, uttering the same thoughts ("I always think I'm halfway when I get here, but we're not."), I realize I've been here before, maybe 15 years ago, maybe 10, maybe a total of twenty times or more over the last 15 years. I've seen these palmettos, felt the balmy air, cruised the sleepy towns of this very southern Carolina, pulled up to the same parking place, checked in at the same desk, opened a door to an almost identical room. I'm here. I've been here. In one sense, it's a tiresome thing to realize.
It's that way with sin, too. Only you might call it deja voodoo, that not so nice sinking sensation that you've done it again, committed the same offense, said the same thoughtless word, let you mind wander and dwell on the same ignoble thought, or let slip by the opportunity to do something good and kind, like say an encouraging word, defend one unjustly maligned, said hello to the clerk with a bad day.
Maybe I think the Israelites did worse. They, after all, had seen such miraculous acts of God, such miracles, and yet when Moses was gone more than a few days, they opted to worship a piece of gold. And yet they were not different than me. Each of my offenses, like their offenses, is a singular act of rebellion, a statement that my way is more important than God's way.
I'm a sinner. I've done it. I'll likely do it again. But I'm not compelled nor destined to stay mired in one place. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). That "now" is effective in a millions "nows," stretching backwards and forwards --- an eternal, infinite proclamation of what is true.
That "now" overturns the curse and undoes this terrible black magic. One day, all our deja vus will remind us only of the good, true, and beautiful we have experienced. That's a good magic. I can't wait.