Focus: The unchanging power of redemption
Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
When I was a young girl, I wasn’t one hundred percent positive of what I would grow up to be, but I was creative and had a pretty sharp mind–so, I had a feeling I would do something exceptional. More than that, I had the feeling that someday I would do something that would help people worldwide. That’s a fairly high expectation and may sound somewhat arrogant, I know. It’s not that I thought that I was so amazing–I just had this feeling. I never actually spoke those words out loud until I was over fifty years old. Until now, I only ever shared that information with a few trusted friends.
I was a complicated sort of kid who was usually thinking of several things at the same time and always wondering. It was inspiring to be in my fifth grade class the day the first American astronaut circled the globe and later returned to earth in his space capsule. I was proud of the fact that the generation I lived in was the most advanced in the history of all time. When we put three men on the moon just after I graduated high school in 1969, I experienced another rush of pride and inspiration. It seemed like anything was possible and my imagination continued to soar.
Now, you can listen and/or read!
I won a few contests as a kid and teenager. As a high school senior I was co-captain of a Bible quiz team that went from local quizzing to regional, then to state and on to the nationals from my home state of Michigan to St. Louis, Missouri, where we actually won the national championship. Who would have thought a child with such high potential and expectations would have ended up abusing drugs and alcohol? How could someone who meant to succeed, marry twice for the wrong reasons and find herself alone and childless at thirty-two years old?
After several unsuccessful attempts at marital reconciliation, I was so depressed and suicidal that I was considering admitting myself to a residential care center for the emotionally disturbed. In stead, I was referred to one of their outpatient counselors who I saw for several weeks. He put me through some lengthy tests and helped me learn some important things about myself. I was suffering from an overwhelming load of shame and guilt about my failures. During one session with the counselor I was crying and saying how sorry I was for how I had failed God and probably caused a lot of people to wonder. The counselor was quiet for a few moments and then said, “Do you really think you could ruin God’s reputation?”
Those must have been the exact words I needed to hear, because an enormous weight lifted off me and even though I still had more recovering to do–there was some sense of relief as I realized that the stuff I was going through was exactly what Jesus died for. His blood was shed for the healing of all our sins, mistakes, and failures. His sacrifice was sufficient.
I’m sure I don’t know what it is you’re battling with today; what failure you have not been able to reconcile with, but I would say to you with all the gentleness and thoughtfulness my counselor said to me so many years ago, “Do you really think you could ruin God’s reputation?” I would further add that the same grace that was sufficient for me, is sufficient for you, as well. His power is still enough. His mercy never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how far you’ve gone, the love of God can redeem your life.
During that hard season of my life, there was a song that brought me hope. It was a song I had heard on television and also in the church I attended as a child.
He can turn the tide and calm the angry sea
He alone decides who writes a symphony
He lights every star that makes the darkness bright
He keeps watch all through each long and lonely night
He still finds the time to hear a child’s first prayer
Saint or sinner call and always find Him there
Though it makes Him sad to see the way we live
He’ll always say, “I forgive” (written by Jack Richards and Richard Mullan)
He knows all about your broken promises and your shattered dreams. He felt every pain you suffered in the moments of your deepest disappointment. As we accept His forgiveness for all our failures, His reputation is not ruined at all. In fact—His glory is seen by all who behold—as lives that were almost destroyed, receive the breath of new life.
Declaration: I will find new strength by believing that my sin has not ruined God’s reputation. I will receive His forgiveness for my failures and begin to dream again.
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For music selections that will help bring hope and encouragement during your recovery from depression and addiction, https://www.youtube.com/user/NewStrengthMusic/playlists?sort=dd&view=1
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.