Friday, March 25, 2016

Redemption, Atonement and Salvation

Earlier this month I found myself face to face with those long standing foes: rejection and failure.

As much as I tell myself (and others assured me) that it wasn’t personal, no reflection on who I am as a person or my abilities…
.. but I still feel pain.

As much as I tell myself (and others assured me) that everything has a season, and this is just the end of a season…
...but I still feel grief.

I’d catch myself thinking that if only I had stronger faith then I wouldn’t feel like this, and have to remind myself yet again that my emotions are no reflection of my faith, since in this darkness is when I cling even tighter to His love, mercy and grace.

I followed the emotions and thoughts back to find their roots.  I followed a shadowy strand into what seemed like a hidden cave in my mind. I followed it through a maze of many twists and turns, down shafts and through tunnels and passageways.  

I finally found myself in a subterranean chamber inside my soul facing a dark pulsating blob of hurt, rejection and shame, looking like something from a Dr Who episode, filled with the following thoughts:

"I am unworthy.  I am undeserving.  I am unacceptable.  I am nobody, I have nothing.  I am unattractive, and unlike-able"

I could see from this thing tendrils snaking back up to the surface, affecting all the areas that I'm struggling in, both in the present and as far back into my past as my memory would take me.

I sat in the dark, pulled my knees up to my chest, wrapped my arms around my legs and rested my chin on my knees, looking at this dark mass of lies, and asked Father, "Now what?  How do I deal with this?"

His answer was:
Isn't that the point of My grace and mercy?
Isn't that the point of redemption, atonement and salvation?
Isn't that the whole point of the Cross?
It only takes a single droplet of light to begin to dispel darkness.  And in that one drop of light was a distant hill, a chanting crowd, a suffering God.  

We hear a lot about the message of the Cross being forgiveness for sin.  And it is. But that’s just the surface of it.  Atonement offers so much more. This sense of unworthiness goes deeper than the wrongdoing that is usually meant by “sin”.  This darkness is not guilt, I know I have been forgiven and my conscience is clear. It is rejection, hurt, failure and shame.

Carried on his battered and bleeding shoulders was my black shape, the lies that have been burdening my life.  As the nails were driven into his flesh, they drove also into this darkness of mine. As he cried out “IT IS FINISHED” and breathed his last, the blackness was finally defeated and destroyed.

I wish I could say I’m not feeling these emotions any more.  But this is a journey and a process, and it seems these things take time.  I must still guard myself against the lies, and cling tightly to Truth and Light.  This is all I must do, the rest has already been done.