I feel like the Lord has allowed me to experience difficult times for many reasons: to draw me close to him, to exercise my faith in what I cannot see, to humble me, etc. But I think one of the main reasons is that he knows me and he knows how I learn- usually best through experience. I think he also knows what I love, which is to teach, and you cannot teach what you do not know. I have been allowed to learn and continue to learn about faith, grace, forgiveness – all rooted in a continuous lesson of love.
Even though I know all of this, I sometimes wonder if I ever grasp anything at all about the Lord. The more I learn the more I am in wonder.
I was walking down the alley to work one morning when I was overcome with the word, “Redemption.”
I’ve read about redemption, heard sermons and stories about redemption, read books and watched movies about redemption. I know about this but I do not think I have ever known this – or at least recognized it in my life. I know Christ has redeemed me; however, I think there’s more to it than that. It is one act that has a constant impact.
Where I am now, I am seeing familiar patterns come to light. I see fears I thought I had conquered come back to taunt me. I feel reactions that bring up memories I thought I had walked away from.
But I am redeemed. I should not have to keep finding myself in these familiar places.
According to Merriam and Webster, to redeem something is:
– to make (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) better or more acceptable
– to exchange (something, such as a coupon or lottery ticket) for money, an award, etc.
– to buy back (something, such as a stock or bond)
What a beautiful picture.
What an uncomfortable experience.
Redemption seems to require both parties to agree on the act – one to offer redemption and another to accept being redeemed.
The grace involved in that process can be overwhelming. Taking what was bad – the hurt, the embarrassment, the dirty places, the shameful – and making it better, acceptable.
Allowing the brokenness to be brought into the light and examined by other eyes then letting it go – seeing it change from brokenness into something beautiful, something useful.
There is a risk in being redeemed. I have to risk sharing those places that I have held close hoping no one knows about them. Even hurts I didn’t realize I still clung to.
But the Lord’s love is strong enough yet gentle enough to tempt even the strongest holds and the scariest places.
In each of these places, I have the choice to continue in the way I know, the place I am comfortable, or I can allow him to redeem that which is hurtful to me, what I have become numb to so as to no longer be able to feel the way it hurts me.
Something wonderfully difficult to accept about the Lord is that I am never able to repay him for doing what I am incapable of doing for myself. That is love. That is redemption – it is a disproportionate exchange.
The act of redemption is a continual offer that never absolves me from experiencing heart ache or hurt and it does not erase previous experiences; rather, it lets me notice these and surrender that to the Lord to heal and redeem – offering to make it better than it was.
So these places I find myself – feeling hit on by shadows of past hurts and reacting out of fear – this is part of the redemption process. I have to see that I need redeeming. I have to notice that I cannot work my way through these hard places. I have to risk surrendering them to the Lord. And I have to trust he is who he says he is and that he will redeem me in that place – whether I see the outcome of the redemption or not. These things coming up now are not new things. I thought I had already surrendered them to the Lord, and I did. But I am now at a place to see them being redeemed – made new.