This is the last part of my “redeemed” mini-series. How about a recap? Here’s what I’ve known for the last year:
So, what’s the problem? Why has my fuse gotten shorter and shorter all year? Why have I become increasingly irritated and frustrated, hopeless and annoyed?
One thing still didn’t compute. If “God is good, all the time” and “All the time, God is good”, what’s the deal with “the wrath of God”? The Bible has a LOT to say about the wrath of God and I couldn’t see how a Good God could be so full of wrath, yet so loving at the same time.
However, what I was beginning to understand, on Saturday, September 13, 2014, was that I had been redeemed. God made that very clear all day. When I sat down at church the next morning, after the pity-party that never materialized, I felt like God had me on “download” mode and I had better get my pen ready. The first thing I wrote was “Jesus redeemed that”, referring to my desire to have a pity-party. Then I wrote this:
“What is the wrath of God? His wrath is the natural consequence of turning away from Him. It’s MY CHOICE. Jesus redeemed that. God wants to love me and He does, but I keep choosing to turn away to hopelessness, self-pity, indifference, whining. That stuff is His wrath. Jesus died for that. He took on my “turning away”. He turned away from God ONCE FOR ALL. He redeemed that. He bought it. It’s no longer mine. When I turn away and feel that WRATH, the devil tells me I deserve it. I turned away and it’s my fault, I’m bad, I SHOULDN’T do that and I SHOULD turn back. NO! Jesus redeemed that. I GET TO turn back because Jesus redeemed it. I OWE NOTHING. I don’t owe it to Him. It’s DONE.”
Sunday afternoon, I watched the “redeemed” part of the Beth Moore simulcast where it had frozen on Saturday. It was cool, but God kept nudging me to go do my Beth Moore “Children of the Day” study. My friend and I have been working through that study since July, very sporadically. When we watched the video for week 4 (out of 9 weeks), we realized that our timing was perfect. Every session has spoken to us exactly when we needed it. I’m only on week 5 of the study in the workbook, because there’s really no need to be any further ahead.
Sunday afternoon, I followed the nudging and opened my workbook to the next homework assignment, which was Day 3 of Week 5. Get this. It was titled “Wrestling with Wrath“. Beth had already done the research and gave me lots of scripture about God’s wrath. His “wrath” in the original Greek is actually, “desire with grief and sorrow”. Man’s type of wrath is translated from the Greek as “the outburst of a vengeful mind”. God’s wrath is not like ours. It is a profound sadness that the people He created can choose to turn away from Him, knowing that our turning away is not what is best for us. We were made to be in communion with Him, but He is a gentleman and won’t make us. And robotic love is not real love. It has to be our choice. But I was convinced that I owed God something “for all He’s done for me”, and I was so sick of trying that I had turned away.
Since Sunday, September 14, I’ve been telling myself “Jesus redeemed that” with every thought that I think that has anything to do with “should” or guilt over what I did or didn’t do or thought. AND I BELIEVE IT because my theology is finally reconciled. It’s not a conflict. Bard Millard, MercyMe’s head man, said that he got to the point where he couldn’t sell the gospel. It wasn’t good news. That’s where I had gotten to. I couldn’t sell Jesus. He wasn’t good news. He was more work. How could I sell that with good conscience?
I’ve walked around with more LIGHTNESS and joy for the last three weeks, I can’t explain it other than the perfect gift of God. I can laugh and joke and I don’t have this heaviness that I have to keep dragging around, trying to do better and be better, but always feeling guiltier and guiltier about how I REALLY feel. How I really feel now is REALLY good news.
Check out the lyrics to MercyMe’s “Wishful Thinking”, which they sang at the concert that Saturday night. I especially love the first verse and the “better late than not at all” verse. This song spoke to me so loudly after my 20 year journey with Jesus. Thanks for reading!
“Wishful Thinking” by MercyMe
Lord is it possible to get this far
And just now understand who You are?
I’m feeling foolish yet relieved as well
Cuz what I bought before, I just can’t sell
But now my eyes are open wide
If this is wrong
I don’t wanna be right
Could it be that on my worst day
How You love me still will not change
What if it’s really not about
What I do but what you did, oh what if
This ain’t wishful thinking it’s just how it is
This ain’t wishful thinking it’s just how it is
Well, I guess I’m better late than not at all
Or did you plan it this way all along
Cuz without suffering grace is hard to see
So maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be
And now, I’m seeing You so differently
And only I can say is finally
Click here for Part 7