Reborn

A year ago, I was out in Nevada, across the country, waiting to say my final good-bye to my Mom. This once strong woman, who gave me birth, raised me the best way she and my Dad knew how, and continued to be one of my best friends through life, until her last day on this earth. We had our moments… even arguments that extended into a year or better of no contact. However, even as a non-Christian at the time, I loved my parents, with all their flaws and forgiveness and  reconciliation was only a matter of time. Even afterwards, when we got together, we shared not only a great deal of shared talents and tender moments, but gave evidence to the verse “iron sharpens iron”. When we got into it, it was irresistible force meeting immovable object. Now, after a lifetime of moments, Mom was dying, and even though I thought I could deal with it, I was not as strong as I had thought.

While the family had gathered at her home, we visited with her, even though she did not respond much of the time, and much of my time was spent by her bedside reading to her. At first, it was Dale Black’s “Flight to Heaven”, which continued to be a comfort to me afterwards, then I read to her out of John, 1 John, and Psalms. The night I lost all my composure and broke down into an inconsolable grief was a turning point for me. As I woke the next morning, praying … repenting, I asked God to help me love the unlovables, then confessed to Him that I was not handling ‘this other’ very well, either. God knew, and I knew, what I was talking about… losing my mother. As I wept openly to God, and continued praying, the scripture ‘For surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows’… popped into my mind.  As I thought about the scripture, not even wondering where it came from, I admitted to my Heavenly Father that I did not understand that scripture. I never have.

“If He has already borne them, why do I feel so crappy?” was my question to God. No answer. Oh well… for now, it didn’t matter. I resolved to chew on that scripture and seek the answer until I had it. As I finished praying however, I realized that I had already forgotten it! I went into a quiet panic. God, I forgot that verse already! Please, help me to remember it… what was it??? It came back, and this time, it stayed. And, yes… I have been chewing on it, meditating on it for the past year.

A few days ago, I was thinking on the verse in Romans 5:19 “  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. “, I had an ‘aha’ moment. A true revelation that I believe ties in with the scripture God gave me a year ago. Of course, it does point to Jesus, whose obedience gave us the pathway to becoming a totally different creature. I was born into sin… a son of Adam, or son of man. Every person born into this world has a sinful nature because of the devastating consequences of Adam’s high treason against God. I have known this for years. And I also knew that Jesus was my Savior, who suffered at the hands of evil men, was crucified, buried, and then resurrected. I knew this in my mind, but the realization that I was truly a new creation… yes, born ‘again’, when I accepted God’s answer for our dilemma, I am now no longer a son of man, or son of Adam, but a son (or, in this case, daughter) of God, who has adopted me. Just as I was born into sin into my mother’s and father’s family years ago, I was also born into the family of God by the hand of God through Jesus. It is not arrogance, far from… it is rather humbling… mind boggling. It has nothing to do with what I have done, but rather what Jesus has done. Yes, He HAS borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. And yes, I am a new creation, not because of anything I have willed to do, done, or thought, but because of a mystery that God has done in me.  All I had to do was receive it.

 

Advertisements

A Father’s Love

We all yearn for love… and we long for it intensely. I would dare say many, if not most, of our decisions are based on the need to be loved and cared for. Sometimes we are so blinded by this need, we look for that love in all the wrong places (as the once popular country song puts it), much to the chagrin of those around us who see trouble ahead. Some are involved in one bad relationship after another, while others find comfort in work, money, job status, alcohol and/or drugs. Our desire to be loved, I believe, is one that has been placed there by none other than God Himself, and I also believe that, while there are those on this earth He has given us to love and receive that love from, there is a God-sized hole in our hearts reserved for Him alone.

I love movies, and one of my favorites is The Princess Diaries… a story of a plain Jane teen who discovers she is a princess. She takes ‘Princess lessons’ from her Grandmother, Queen of the small country of Genovia, and on the very night she has decided to turn down the crown, she finds a letter written to her by her deceased Father. His gentle loving words to his daughter he had never met in person are powerful, and recently, as I watched this clip of the movie, it dawned on me that our Heavenly Father has also signed His love letter to His children, ‘love, your Father’.

The gospel of John makes the bold statement that ‘as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become sons of God, even to them who believe on His name’. Christians (and others) are very quick to note we are all ‘Children of God’. But, we are not ALL children of God, but those who ‘believe on His Name’… that is.. the name of Jesus, who came to reveal the love of God and take on Himself the retribution for the sin of every person who has ever lived, is living now, and will live. That is a lot of wrath to bear, all for the sake of love.

The idea of being royalty, let alone children of the living God, staggers the imagination, but it is a vital part of who we are as Christians. It is not in our works, prayers, church going, or any other activity we can come up with, but rather yielding to His love, what He did on the cross, and surrendering to that relationship with Him, getting to know Him and learning to trust Him daily. If we don’t truly know Him, we won’t trust Him, and if we don’t trust Him, how can we ‘rest in Him’ as the Bible instructs us to?

My mind keeps going back to the tender, loving voice speaking words of encouragement to his daughter, who was frightened and ready to run away. I remind myself that, no matter what scares me, no matter how life hurts, my Father loves me with that same tenderness and I CAN trust Him. As God has been teaching me to stop striving and just rest in Him, the message gets clearer … I am a child of the King, and do not need to fear. God DOES love me, more than I can love myself. Our family, spouse, friends will let us down in one way or another, but God’s love is not a selfish love… He is not as earthly fathers are, but loves with a perfect love. The question is… do we dare put down our defenses and let Him love us, or reject Him as so many have? Do we venture to the cross where God lay down His life for us so that we can enjoy that loving relationship with Him forever? Our response to Him will determine our eternal destination, as well as our contentment here in this life on earth.