“Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Redemption. It’s one of my favorite words. One week ago, I wrote a story about Mother’s Day and my feeble attempt to honor the mother of our children. It was a story of good intentions with a not so good conclusion. It was a story that should have been about honoring but was really about muttering. It was a story about what was instead of what could have been…should have been. But, well, it turns out it wasn’t the end of the story.
So, without retelling the whole story (see “Mother’s Day—The Hard Way, May 11, 2020 on gritswithgrace.com) let’s just say I lost a blessing. Judy asked for a simple Mother’s Day gift and I fumbled the ball. I did it but with some (ok, a lot) of muttering. The day ended good with a great hike together and my receiving a reasonable measure of grace. The next day, Becca, our oldest daughter suggested a trip to Pigeon Forge for a few days as recompense. That seemed reasonable and doable and is in the planning stages. But there’s more.
It is the time of year when ladies change their purses. I know Judy has a dark red one that she uses in winter and a cute (did I just say “cute?”) one for spring. Well, the cute one for spring has seen its last hurrah. It is faded like an old leaf on the ground in late fall. She told me she was looking for a replacement but couldn’t find “the one.” It had to be a certain kind, it had to be the same color as last year’s, and it had to be a particular design. She said, “I can’t find what I want. I guess they just don’t make it.” What she was really saying was, “Here’s a chance for redemption, big boy.”
I jumped on this like “white on rice.” I like a challenge and love redemption. Now, I don’t know a thing about purses. Most guys don’t do purses though some have a “man-bag.” This guy doesn’t do either. But I do know about the promised land…Ebay. So, I got my iPhone out, clicked on the icon and entered eBay land. I tried several key searches. I quickly found out that whoever this Vera Bradley person is, she makes a lot of purses in a lot of designs and in lots of colors. But I was determined…I was seeking redemption.
Well, Judy wanders in, sits down and together we continue the search. By the time she got there, I was close. I could smell it; I just couldn’t taste it. And then it happened. There it was. Vera Bradley, coral floral, cross-body purse. The right brand, the right color and the right design. She wondered if it could be true. She said she would believe it when she could see it, hold it, touch it. The Saturday after Mother’s Day it came in the mail in all its glory. She saw it, she held it, she touched it. Game. Set. Match.
Her smile was from ear to ear and so was mine. Her happiness was so evident and so was mine. She couldn’t believe her prize was in her hands and her “prince” had brought home the bacon. Oh, I was redeemed all right. The epic failure was gone…replaced by the laurels of “coral floral” victory! Then I said, “Wait…I’ve heard this story before.” It is the story of God and me…of God and you.
You see, because of our sin, our failures, we were in a hot mess. We were separated from God and there was no fixing it. It was epic fail 101. Then God made a way—the way for rescue, for restoration, for redemption. And it’s not unlike my Mother’s Day story. I searched for the one thing that would make redemption possible and found it. And we do the same. We long for the one thing. And it isn’t religion. It isn’t being good. It isn’t stopping a bad habit or starting another. It is grace. It is forgiveness. It is Jesus.
You see, Jesus is not a religion…we have enough of that already. As Jesus said, He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” His death and resurrection made it possible for anyone to come home to God. He makes it possible for this epic failure to call God, “Father.” Paul, in Colossians 1:13-14, put it this way, “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. In Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Well, I’m glad the story didn’t end with part one. I’m glad there was a part two. I’m glad for redemption. And your story never has to end with only a part one. Whether it is coming home for the first time or coming back home another time, we will always find Him waiting with open arms and a warm embrace. Guess what? Last Monday I was ok…Judy still loved me. She’s like that. This Monday, well, she thinks I hung the moon. She’s like that too. Today, God waits to welcome you home and guess what? No, He doesn’t think you hung the moon…He did that. But He does love you to the moon and back. So, let go and let Him hold you. Rest in Him. He’s got this.