Sunday, January 29, 2012

Joy and Repentance

 I feel strange and happy.  It's a joy that is complete, albeit uncertain of all that is to come.  I feel refreshed, awake, yearning for more of the Lord.  I've been singing a lot.  I can't help it.  It seems that returning to singing is a natural outpouring of the thankfulness and joy in my heart, and as I feel the rush of my voice rising in great echoing strength, my mind and heart surge with the knowledge of what my life has been.

1992.  Born.
1997.  My life belongs to Jesus.
1999.  Washed in the presence of witnesses.
2009.  I'm still His!

Aren't those the most important?  But there is so much more.  In the past I've only dwelt on sin from the point of view of its consequences.  Certainly I have repented, but my remorse has never dwelt with me in the deep, abiding way which causes me to weep and cry out for mercy because I realize the immensity of my rebellion against the Lord.  Just the other day I remembered a specific and very defiant "No" I gave when I was only 7.  1999.  I'd apologized for it long ago, but just two days ago I realized the immensity of that defiant heart of mine.  The innocence of my childhood suddenly faded away.  I was born a human being with a fleshly, rebellious nature.

*insert sobs*

So in my greatest hour of remorse I wept, not over those obvious sins which are noticed and remembered, but over this one little sin of my 7-year-old self, because it is so indicative of my entire self, from day one until today.

Yet as I begged for mercy, the Spirit of God reminded me that He had already given it to me, 2,012 (or so) years ago.  Oh the joy in my soul!

With salty but dry cheeks I opened my Bible and turned to Acts.  As my reading list directed me, I headed to the 22nd chapter, and began to read.  After speaking of the wonders God was doing, and the salvation found in Christ, Paul is arrested and beaten.  Finally he is given opportunity to speak, and he speaks of his Damascas road experience.  I'd read it so many times before, but the Lord brought it to life for me.  My dry cheeks didn't stay so very long.  First Paul brings forth the atrocities he previously committed against the church, and then he relates this startling conversation with the Lord on that famed road.
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’
'Who are You, Lord?’
‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’
‘What shall I do, Lord?’
‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ (22:6-11)
So I took his words to heart, turned my face heavenward, and repeated: "What shall I do, Lord?"  I kept reading.  I may not ever have been in Jerusalem, and I may never be in Rome, (I have been, but that's not the point), but this jumped out at me:
“Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” (23:11)   
Take courage.  Take courage.

Be at peace.  Move forward.  Witness of Me.  Listen to Me.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:35-39)
Are these words not echoed throughout scripture?  Paul was a sinner, like me.  God grabbed hold of him, like me.  Christ spoke to him, like me.  And nothing could separate him from Christ.  Like me.

Like you.  Do you know Him?

Oh, I want to hug you and tell you how wonderful He is!!!

1 comment:

Sarah B. said...

So encouraging Sheila! God's leading us through all...though I don't know where sometimes! Thanks for sharing :)