The soul, of origin divine,
God’s glorious image, freed from clay, In heaven’s eternal sphere shall shine A star of day!
~Robert Montgomery (1807-1855)
I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, Your wondrous deeds and Your thoughts toward us; none can compare with You! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. In sacrifice and offering You have not delighted, but You have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.”
~ David, The beloved man after G_d’s own heart, in Psalm 40
There is, beloved, a final moment in our lives that is actually the beginning of our real life. Somewhere after we accept Him for who He is, something happens – and we are never the same. For in coming into the knowledge of Jesus as our Savior and King and Lover and Captain and Friend, there begins a process within us, wherein we begin to shed the dead flesh that He has slain.
For some of us, the moment of salvation and the moment of total freedom are nearly the same. But for many, there is such a pause between the two, that the moment has been called the “second act of grace” by some theologians. And the moment of our freedom is profound.
One minute we are struggling in the muck of our past. And the next … we stopped. We gave up. We surrendered. We realized that nobody else was the problem, and nobody but Him was the solution.
“Oh my! What just happened?”
“you are free child. I AM the One who has done this.”
“Yes child. I AM.”
“i,,, i can hear You! Your Voice… Its amazing!”
He says, “I have been speaking to you for years dear one. you simply did not have ears to hear. They were too full of you and the muck of your past. It took time for The Blood to wash this away. But The Blood always works. It never fails. It was My Son’s very Blood. It is The Most Precious And Powerful Substance in the universe.”
“Oh my. Papa. Why do i Love you so much now?!?! What happened?”
“child. The world is a very dangerous place. And the prince of the fallen cosmos is never in the mood to let a captive free. And until you surrendered completely to the Truth that you could do nothing to be free, the devil and the world, and you, still had a hold on you.”
Finally, we begin to understand, “So when i?….”
“Exactly child. That moment where you simply decided to quit trying to get me to love you, and simply let Me Love you. It was in that moment where you were finally free. My Love is overwhelmingly powerful, and it breaks anything free from everything else but My Own Triune Self. And so now, you realize that you are Loved with an everlasting Love. And in a Love like this, there is no other response but to Love Us back.”
“Oh Father! What should i do now?”
“Nothing. Just rest. I will be doing all the work now. Would you like to dance? I have been singing a song over you for æons.”
“Yes Daddy! Let’s dance! Can we bring other people to the dance as well?!”
He answers, “Of course child. That is the Great Commission. An invitation to the Party of The Ages! But now, you will be able to do this without fear, without doubt, without running out of strength. For I AM now your Strength and Length of Days.”
“Wow! This is amazing Papa! i am weeping, but they are no longer tears. i am so joyful. Why? Why have You done this?
“There is no ‘why’ child. I AM Love. I AM who I AM. Will you believe?”
“Yes Papa. I believe.”
“you have no idea child. Not yet. Fear not though, we now have forever to discover it all. And it will take at least that long to search out the riches I have in store for all of us! Onward child! There are many to invite to the dance. Run child! Be free! Run! I AM with you to the very end of the race, and I AM the Place and Person and Home to which you are running!!!!”
Assured of your salvation by the unique grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” is the heartbeat of the gospel, joyful liberation from fear of the Final Outcome, a summons to self-acceptance, and freedom for a life of compassion toward others.
~Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out