Today she lights one candle for the birthday of her circle of friends.
She recalls how she gently delivered them all at once and joined their hands tightly together
Forming them carefully into a circle
Beholding them all with the nervous love of an inexperienced mother…
She held close the baby swaddled in a papoose, to free her hands
To hold the small fist of the toddler on her left,
Who clung to the four year old at her side…
Right around the circle she gazed with awe, recognising them from the photographs
Incrementally ordered, growing and aging in a stepped time-frame,
She knew quite well the lady affirming her connection to her right hand.
To look with love and silently affirm was all she could do
Before scooping them all back inside with a promise –
Grateful for the introduction to these familiar strangers –
She would behold them all again soon,
And one by one, she would hear their stories.
Yesterday and today Sue has been experiencing an incredible sensation of hope and of joy. This has come from the revelation that she can never earn her innocence or salvation. To get it right, to live by the rules, all these things are impossible to achieve in their totality. But that is the good news of Jesus – by believing in him, we appropriate His innocence, as the person bringing the spotless lamb in times past did (he would place a hand on the head of the innocent lamb and exchange his sin for the lamb’s purity. The lamb carrying the sin and guilt would then be sacrificed in his place and he would have been given pardon) And Jesus came to restore that lost innocence for all people, for all time. If we believe He carried ALL of our sinfulness to the cross and was sacrificed to bring innocence and peace to us, then we can live with the innocence of God in our lives and freedom from guilt and sin, with no need to earn righteousness or work hard to be good, as we become innocent again in Jesus. This is a major shift in Sue’s understanding of the gospel and one that makes salvation, freedom and hope possible. In her own strength she can never be good enough, never be perfect or holy, but in Jesus she is already good enough and there is nothing she needs to add. He has done it all. Wow!!! She had heard all this before, but not known it as she does now, so she wants to remind herself everyday how wonderful it is and how it works, because it is awesome! Praise be to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who has made this possible, to restore us to the relationship with Him that He intended when God first said “Let us make man in our image”…
How wonderful! Sue then went to pray through the reading of the day and grinned to read, “John 3:16-18
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Exact confirmation of what the Spirit has been showing her. Jesus does not condemn her, but it is she who condemns herself when she tries to be good and get it all right in her own strength and through her own understanding. Those who do not believe are condemned to try to earn their own salvation, which is impossible. The grace to stand with confidence before God comes from faith in nothing but the loving sacrifice of Jesus. It is the only way. Thank you, thank you, thank you. She feels that the Holy Spirit has revealed the truth as an answer to Suzie’s questions; questions which Sue could not answer herself. Sue is overjoyed! This is the most wonderful, radical revelation of love and freedom that she has ever experienced for herself and herein lies the fountain of joy! Finally she can see it and her heart is bursting with laughter and love.