Redeemable Qualities (Day 1 from Cleansing Thoughts)
FOR SEVERAL DAYS, I HAVE been pondering on the lessons I learned from one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read, Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. It is a wonderfully written allegory about a woman named Much-Afraid and her journey to the High Places, where perfect love cast out all fear. I found myself on every page and surprisingly began to understand my own Christian walk with new insight. There was one part of special interest to me concerning the lessons discovered in the alphabet of love. On her journey, she encounters two flowers of great importance. The first growing in the desert was named Acceptance-with-Joy, and the second was found growing on a cliff out of a crevice in the rock named Bearing-the-Cost. Both flowers accepted their fate in life with grace, determined to let love prevail in their lives.
All of us have had things happen in our lives that have resulted in our having to bear the cost from the injustices of others. In the past, it was too easy for me to hold on to the hurts, wearing my resentment and bitterness as a excuse rather than letting them go, taking responsibility for my own actions. However, when I came to know Christ as my Lord and Savior, it was His love that showed me how to forgive and to accept with joy the life He had given me. Through His atoning blood, the broken pieces of my past became the redeemable qualities of who I was to become in Him. No, like the little flower Bearing-the/ Cost, I was not responsible for what happened in my past, but I am responsible for what for how I allowed it to effect my life, and for those I hurt out of my pain. God knew, yet He understood, and reached out to where I was to show me His love. All He asked I return was that I extend to others the same love and forgiveness He had given me. Over the years, I have learned to accept with joy the circumstances of my life and allow God to use them to help set others free and walk in the newness of Christ. I have written a quote from the book in my Bible as a reminder of what God has done in my life. I would like to share it with you. “I was separated from all my companions, exiled from home, carried here and imprisoned in this rock. It was not my choice, but the work of others who, when they had dropped me here, went away and left me to bear the results of what they had done.”
“I have borne and have fainted; I have not ceased to love, and Love helped me push through the crack in the rock until I could look right onto my Love the sum himself. See now! There is nothing whatever between my Love and my heart, nothing around to distract me from him. He shines upon me and makes me to rejoice, and has atoned to me for all that was taken from me and done against me,”
Mine is only one story amount many within the body of Christ told not only in books but also in countless testimonies throughout our churches. The road to redemption has been well traveled, ultimately by Christ Himself. Let’s look at the lives of a few.
First, let’s look at the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel. Highly favored in his father’s eyes, he was given a “coat of many colors,” which caused jealousy to rise up in the hearts of his brothers. Joseph was a dreamer, and when he shared with his brothers one-off his dreams of greatness over them, envy filled their hearts, causing to sell him into slavery. Joseph was taken to Egypt to the house of Potiphar, an official of the Pharaoh, where he once again found favor and was placed in authority over the household. But Potiphar’s wife brought false charges against him, and Joseph’s honor was once again repaid with injustice, and he was thrown into prison. It was during his two years of imprisonment that God once again showed His hand was still upon him and gave him the a gift to interpret dreams, which eventually brought him his freedom. After interpreting a dream for the Pharaoh, seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine recommending a program for saving grain, Joseph earned his respect and was placed in charge of the treasury. Due to his new position, Joseph saw the fulfillment of his dream so many years prior, when his brothers bowed before him. The dream that caused his brothers to sell him into slavery! In Genesis 45, we read how God’s plan of redemption is revealed and Joseph is reunited with his brothers. The mercy Joseph showed towards them revealed the very heart of God as he wept, saying “Come close to me . . . I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives God sent me ahead of you”?(Genesis 45:4-5, NIV). There is two important things to learn from these two verses; one Joseph held no hard feelings towards his brothers and he didn’t want them to either. After all that happened to Joseph how do you suppose he held no ill will towards his brothers when they were responsible? How would you feel. The second thing is Joseph had walked with God, “. . . it was to save lives GOD SENT ME ahead of you,”what man meant for harm God used for good, and in the end, His plan of redemption was revealed! Joseph knew in his heart God had not forsaken him and the years separated from his brothers had not brought bitterness but rather mercy.