Friday, February 14, 2014

An encounter with God

Before I ask you to take this journey with me today, I wanted to remind you why I named my blog "The WOW Moments!" These are the moments you have an encounter with God, and you are so amazed, that you can only say WOW. Sometimes it is something He allows you to experience where you clearly see His hand at work, and sometimes it is something He reveals to you, a truth in His Word that is just powerful. And today's blog is of the second variety....a revelation that brought me to tears.

I remember that there was a time when I finally understood and grasped the words of "Amazing Grace." Before, it had just been an old hymn we sang at church. But after I committed my life to follow Christ and put Him at the center of my life, I realized how amazing it was that God, the Creator of life, would give me such an amazing do-over, in spite of the life choices I had made before making the decision to receive Christ as Savior, and the life choices He knew I would make after. And yet....BUT GOD, in His everlasting love for me extended His lavish grace. WOW!

But this week, God took it step further for me. I was reminded that God does not just take away the penalty for my sin, He takes away the guilt and shame of it as well. It is gone, but why do we still experience it? Why do we hang on to those negative emotions, even while God continues to are forgiven?

And God painted this picture for me. It is like someone who has received a life sentence. They know without a doubt that they will spend the rest of their lives in prison. They know it with such certainty that there is no hope. Hope as defined by Webster's is "to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true." Can you imagine being at a place in your life that you are utterly without hope, you can't even envision the slightest possibility that it could ever happen? They become institutionalized, where they have lived this way so long, they have been conditioned that this is the only way it could ever be.

And then, imagine that this same someone is granted a pardon. Their sins are forgiven. Their debt to society has been erased. They are free. And even though they have been released from prison, they choose to stay in their cell and live their lives. That's what it is like when Jesus says to us as He said to the woman who anointed His feet with oil, "Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace." And we know that we have been forgiven, yet, we are so ashamed of what we have done, we are unable to "go" to put the forgiveness into action. We don't have "peace" which Christ gives when He forgives.

John 8:36 says, "If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed." We must have the courage to walk out of the cell, and not just accept part of the pardon, but to receive the entire gift that Christ offers. "Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace."

But in this WOW moment, it was the sadness that I imagined in the heart of God to look down upon His children whom He has called, whom He has adopted, whom He loves so see that He has bought their freedom with the most precious ransom, the blood of His dear Son Jesus, and yet, we allow our own feelings to override the work He has done for us.

The Son has set you free, and you are truly free indeed....from the penalty of sin, but also from the guilt and shame you feel. Embrace the truth of God's Word: "Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace."